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Pompeo Says No Sanctions Relief For Pyongyang Until Denuclearization

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a joint press conference with his Japanese and South Korean opposite numbers at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on June 14.

There will be no sanctions relief for North Korea until its complete denuclearization, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said in Seoul.

Pompeo was in the South Korean capital on June 14 to brief South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the results of this week's landmark summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Pompeo, speaking at a news conference with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Kang Kyung Wha and Taro Kono, said North Korea understood the need for a "quick" denuclearization process that would be based on "conditions" and "sequencing."

Trump and Kim signed a joint statement after their Singapore meeting that reaffirmed the North's commitment to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," mentioned an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.

However, there had been criticism of the statement for its failure to give detail on a timeline for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons or how it would be verified.

North Korean state media on June 13 reported that Trump had agreed to a "step-by-step" process, suggesting that Pyongyang would gain concessions from Washington at the same time.

But Pompeo made clear that no sanctions would be lifted until total denuclearization was achieved.

"President Trump has been incredibly clear about the sequencing of denuclearization and relief from the sanctions," Pompeo told reporters.

"We are going to get complete denuclearization; only then will there be relief from the sanctions," he said.

Pomepo said regional powers remained "committed to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea."

Before the talks with Pompeo, Moon hailed the summit as a great success, though he acknowledged that there might be "very conflicting views regarding the outcome of the summit."

Moon appeared to be referring to Trump's surprise pledge to halt joint military exercises with South Korea, which the U.S. president called a "provocation" of the North.

With reporting by dpa, AP, and Reuters
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