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Pompeo Will Return to N. Korea Amid Denuclearization Doubts

The trip will be the US Secretary of State's second
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2018 6:00 PM CDT
In this undated photo provided on July 2, 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits Sinuiju Chemical Fibre Mill in Sinuiju, North Korea. Independent journalists...   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
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(Newser) – The White House says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make another trip to North Korea as the Trump administration seeks agreement with Pyongyang on an acceptable denuclearization plan. Per the AP, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Monday that Pompeo would travel to North Korea this week. The trip to Pyongyang will be Pompeo's second as top US diplomat and the first by a senior US official since Trump's historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month. The trip comes as concerns mount over the North's willingness to follow through on the agreement signed by the two leaders. US officials say they are clear-eyed about the North's past behavior in negotiations. Pompeo last visited Pyongyang in May ahead of the Trump-Kim summit and traveled there secretly in early April while he was director of the CIA.

The announcement of Pompeo's trip comes at the heels of news that satellite images have revealed that North Korea is continuing to expand a missile-manufacturing plant in the city of Hamhung, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plant produces solid-fuel missiles, which can be launched with little warning, suggesting that Pyongyang is pressing ahead with weapons programs despite a recent moratorium on testing, analysts say. Intelligence sources tell the Washington Post that North Korea is preparing to conceal its nuclear weapons instead of giving up its entire stockpile. On Sunday, Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told CBS' Face the Nation the US has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in just one year. The AP has more on why experts believe that one-year plan may be unrealistic. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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