Pompeo’s Pyongyang Visit
On Sunday the 7th of October, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Chairman Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang in an effort to reinvigorate talks on denuclearisation. From these talks came two significant results. Firstly, Secretary Pompeo reported to Moon Jae-in that Kim Jong Un agreed to allow international inspection of two sites vital to the nuclear program. Secondly, things seemed to be moving in the right direction in planning for a second Trump-Kim summit in the near future.
According to Pompeo, Kim Jong Un agreed to allow inspection of an engine testing facility and the Punggye-ri nuclear testing facility by international inspectors once both sides agreed on logistics. The only known nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri was closed earlier this year with international journalists invited to observe. It is likely that the engine testing facility in question is the Tongchang engine testing facility which was agreed to be closed at the previous inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang last month. Whilst the inspection of these sites could be seen as a goodwill gesture towards the United States, it’s unclear whether or not this would have any significant effect on the denuclearisation process since analysis group 38North has reported no active efforts to dismantle Tongchang-ri since early August.
PRC FM Wang Yi with Sec. State Pompeo
Other major announcements came from the Blue House which announced, alongside the results of Pompeo’s trip, that Chairman Kim Jong Un was expected to visit Russia in the near future, and that President Xi of China would soon make a state visit to the DPRK. However no further information was imparted on either of those two statements. Mike Pompeo continued his Asia tour, arriving in Beijing where Chinese-US talks took a negative turn as Beijing officials took issue with the US administration’s accusations of political intervention and trade tariffs, widening the divide between the countries and pushing China away from supporting the US’s denuclearisation strategy in Korea.