Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last week abruptly announced the postponing of the July 6 2+2 dialogue with India, will be travelling to Pyongyang this week.
During a week-long trip beginning on July 5 from Pyongyang, as part of his continued consultations with North Korea on the denuclearisation issue, the top diplomat will have stops in Tokyo, Hanoi, Abu Dhabi and Brussels, his spokesperson said on Monday.
The state department's announcement comes days after Pompeo called External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to inform her about his decision to postpone the July 6 India-US 2+2 dialogue in Washington DC.
The department did not offer any explanation for the sudden postponement, except for saying that it was due to unavoidable circumstances.
"To continue the ongoing and important work of denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary Pompeo will be leaving for North Korea on July 5th to meet with the North Korean leader and his team," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
The White House refused to comment on media reports saying North Korea was planning to conceal its nuclear weapons and missiles programme. "We are not going to confirm or deny any intelligence reports. What I can tell you is that we're continuing to make progress," she said.
A top US diplomat had a meeting with members of a North Korean delegation on Sunday. "In the last eight months you haven't seen missile launches. You haven't seen the nuclear detonations. These conversations are continuing to evolve. I'm not going to get into the details, but I can tell you that progress continues to be made," Sanders said.
Pompeo would be in Pyongyang from July 5 to 7 to continue consultations and flesh out the agreement reached by President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
He would spend the next two days in Tokyo where he will meet Japanese and South Korean leaders to discuss their shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea, as well as other bilateral and regional issues, state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
On Sunday, he will carry on to Hanoi for talks with the Vietnamese government and the week after, continue on to the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi before arriving in Brussels on July 10, she said.
Pompeo will meet with UAE leaders to discuss ways to further strengthen the US-UAE partnership and advance their common security and economic priorities, Nauert added.
He will then accompany Trump to a NATO summit in Brussels on July 10-12, where discussions would be held on increased defence spending and burden sharing, enhanced deterrence and defence, and NATO's strengthened efforts to fight terrorism.
Pompeo will also participate in the US-EU Energy Council and co-host a meeting of foreign ministers of the global coalition to defeat ISIS with NATO in Brussels, Nauert said.