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Report: Kim Jong Un asked Pompeo to lift sanctions on North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: Kim Jong Un asked Pompeo to lift sanctions on North Korea
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received a request from Kim Jong Un regarding sanctions during their most recent meeting in Pyongyang, according to a Japanese press report. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE

Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un requested the United States lift economic sanctions on North Korea during his most recent meeting in Pyongyang with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a Japanese press report.

The Nikkei reported Wednesday the North Korean leader had made an official sanctions request to a U.S. official for the "first time" since he began to engage the Trump administration.

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Quoting a diplomatic source, possibly based in Seoul, the Japanese newspaper reported the North is keen to bring an end to the embargoes that have placed strict limitations on imports and exports.

"It is possible North Korea will ask for the lifting of sanctions in impending working-level talks with the United States, which could present challenges," the source said.

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"North Korea is very motivated" to have sanctions lifted, the source added.

On Oct. 7, Pompeo met with Kim for about five hours, including for lunch.

The North Korean leader had discussed the dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, and the two sides agreed to a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in the near future.

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Kim refused to provide a "nuclear list" of North Korea's deadly weapons, and asked for the signing of an end-of-war declaration and the lifting of sanctions.

U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun and his North Korean counterpart Choe Son Hui are expected to meet to conduct the working-level talks soon.

Choe recently represented Pyongyang during a trilateral discussion in Moscow with Chinese and Russian counterparts.

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She may have been in Russia to arrange a summit between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

South Korean news service News 1 reported Wednesday the summit could take place before U.S. midterm elections, possibly to send a message to Trump on sanctions.

Russia called for easing embargoes at the United Nations General Assembly.

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