While U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed "significant progress" in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the weekend and said the sides were "pretty close" to agreeing details for a second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump, experts on East Asian politics are skeptical.
President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are pretty close to a second date. That's what U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after his trip to Pyongyang this week.
Pompeo on Monday (October 8) hailed the talks as bringing quote "significant progress" to a deal that would open up North Korean weapons sites to international inspectors.
But now experts are skeptical, saying they're not sure what Pompeo actually brought back on his fourth visit to Pyongyang this year.
They say the North Koreans seems to be just rolling out the same old promises in a new way.
Pompeo told reporters Kim said he was ready to let inspectors into the Punggye-ri testing site and its Sohae missile engine testing area as soon as the two sides agreed on logistics
But the Secretary of State didn't say if Kim was ready to let inspectors into a third site, Yongbyon, where Pyongyang produces fuel for nuclear weapons.
That's something that the U.S. has been after all along. North Korea blew up tunnels at the Punggye-ri site in May, calling it proof of their commitment to ending nuclear tests.
But there were no inspectors there - just journalists- and senior White House officials called it a broken promise, with the lack of expert witnesses meaning nobody could verify what really happened.
Pompeo didn't say when inspectors would be allowed into Punggye-ri. And the State Department didn't respond to whether any inspectors would be Americans, or from other international bodies.
One M.I.T. nuclear proliferation expert said on Twitter that Kim dragging out the question of inspections was like "selling the same horse twice".
Despite the confusion over inspections, Pompeo was upbeat about a possible second summit between Trump and Kim, saying both leaders believed there'd be real progress to be made next time they meet. (Reuters)