US ready to restart talks with North Korea immediately, denuclearisation to be completed by early 2021: Pompeo

Mr Pompeo is arranging meetings with North Korean officials with the aim of completing North Korea’s denuclearisation by January 2021.
Mr Pompeo is arranging meetings with North Korean officials with the aim of completing North Korea’s denuclearisation by January 2021.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States is ready to restart negotiations with North Korea "immediately", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday (Sept 19), with the aim of completing North Korea's denuclearisation by January 2021.

Mr Pompeo said he had invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to meet in New York next week, where they are both due to attend the United Nations gathering of world leaders.

The US has also invited North Korean representatives to meet the US Special Representative for North Korea in Vienna at the "earliest opportunity", Mr Pompeo said.

He cited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's decision to "complete the previously announced dismantlement of the Tongchang-ri site in the presence of US and international inspectors as a step towards the final fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea".

"On the basis of these important commitments, the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations to transform US-DPRK relations," Mr Pompeo said in a statement, referring to the North's official name Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea’s pledge at a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang drew an enthusiastic response from US President Donald Trump, even though some US officials and experts fear a ploy to weaken Washington’s resolve and its alliance with Seoul.