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Pompeo visits Seoul to discuss summit follow-up measures

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo steps down from a plane at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. / Yonhap

By Kim Bo-eun

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Seoul to discuss follow-up measures for the North Korea-U.S. summit held Tuesday. It is his first official visit to Seoul since he took office as secretary of state in April.

Pompeo, who arrived in Seoul on Wednesday, will meet President Moon Jae-in to discuss declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, as part of the means to guarantee regime security for North Korea.

At the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore, North Korea agreed to commit to complete denuclearization and the U.S. to guarantee North Korea its regime security.

Earlier, there had been speculations that Moon could join Kim and Trump in Singapore to hold talks on ending the Korean War, but this did not happen.

Ending the Korean War was not included in the agreement reached at the bilateral summit.

In a press conference following the summit, Trump said "Now we can have hope it will soon end."

Talks on ending the Korean War could be arranged to include China. The Panmunjeom Declaration reached at the inter-Korean summit on April 27 states the Koreas and the U.S. hold three-way talks or the Koreas, U.S. and China hold four-party talks with the aim of ending the war within this year.

The U.S. and China are involved states in the process because commanders of China and U.S.-led UN forces signed the armistice.

The states may aim to make the declaration on July 27, the date the armistice was signed in 1953. Speculation is that the declaration may otherwise be made at the UN General Assembly in September.

The countries may also sign a peace treaty to prevent aggression.

Pompeo is also likely to discuss prospects of halting joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, which Trump mentioned in the press conference following the summit. North Korea, which has regarded the exercises as a threat, has called for them to be halted.

South Korea's defense ministry on Wednesday said there were no prior discussions with the U.S. on the matter.

Meanwhile, Pompeo will meet with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha today to share discussions that took place at the Trump-Kim summit.

They will discuss how the U.S. and South Korea can cooperate in achieving complete denuclearization and settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Pompeo and Kang will also have a separate meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Seoul on Thursday, and hold a joint press conference afterward. Kono arrived in Seoul on Wednesday.

Kang and Kono will have a lunch meeting to discuss issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula and the means to promote bilateral relations.

After his Seoul visit, Pompeo will head to Beijing.

Pompeo has played a central role in enabling the Trump-Kim summit. Before he took office as secretary of state, he visited Pyongyang and met with Kim as former CIA director. He visited Pyongyang for a second time in May, and held a meeting with senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol in New York early this month to put the summit back on track after Trump called it off.

The accord reached at the Trump-Kim summit states the U.S. and North Korea will commit to hold follow-up talks, led by Pompeo and a high-level North Korean official, at the earliest date possible to carry out the agreements.