SINGAPORE – United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled on Wednesday to South Korea to brief Seoul on the agreement reached between Washington and Pyongyang at the historic Singapore summit.
Pompeo’s flight took off shortly before midday from Singapore to Seoul, his first stopover on a trip that will also take him to Beijing on Thursday to talk to the Chinese government about the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo tweeted a picture of himself waving goodbye as he entered his plane, thanking “the incredible work and hospitality of the government of Singapore (without which) this historic summit would not have been possible.”
Neither Pompeo nor the US State Department gave any details regarding the meetings in Seoul and Beijing beyond stating that he will meet South Korean, Japanese and Chinese senior officials.
Last week, Pompeo announced he would travel to the capitals to update his counterparts on the outcome of the summit and “underscore the importance of fully implementing all sanctions that are imposed on North Korea.”
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Wednesday that Pompeo plans to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in first thing Thursday in Seoul.
He will also hold a trilateral meeting with Japanese and South Korean foreign affairs ministers Taro Kono and Kang Kyung-wha, according to Yonhap.
However, Japan expressed concern on Wednesday over the planned suspension of the joint military maneuvers of South Korea and the US as announced by Trump on Tuesday after his summit with Kim.
Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said he would convey the importance of the joint drills in terms of maintaining security in East Asia to both Washington and Seoul.
Seoul has been quiet regarding Trump’s surprise announcement, stating that it is working towards understanding the precise meaning and intention behind his comments.
Trump called these drills – which Pyongyang suspects to be a trial for invading its territory – provocative, and insisted that suspending them will help Washington save a lot of money.
However, he also pointed out that the US will not be reducing its military capabilities in South Korea where Washington currently has some 28,500 troops deployed.