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08 October, 2018, 10:30
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday before landing in Seoul on a whirlwind diplomatic visit to the region.
According to a statement issued by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, Pompeo "held productive discussions" with Kim on Sunday, when they "discussed the four elements contained in the U.S. -DPRK Singapore Summit Joint Statement" signed by the two countries' top leaders.
The sides particularly "discussed the upcoming second summit between President [Donald] Trump and Chairman Kim [Jong-un] and refined options for the location and date of that next summit", the statement added.
The South Koreans said the USA and North Korea discussed establishing formal negotiating groups to set a "denuclearization process" and work out a time and location for a follow-up meeting to the first Trump-Kim summit in June.
Absent sanctions relief, North Korea has rejected turning over what Washington really wants in return: a complete inventory of its nuclear and ballistic missile facilities that could be used by global inspectors to verify they have been dismantled.
"It's a very nice day that promises a good future for both countries", Kim told Pompeo through an interpreter as they sat down for the meal.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told the United Nations General Assembly at the end of last month that "coercive" sanctions were lethal to trust-building between the two nations, and that without trust "there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".
"Secretary Pompeo said there had been discussions on denuclearization measures to be taken by North Korea and monitoring by the USA government, as well as on corresponding measures to be taken by the United States", Yoon said.
Moon expressed hopes that Pompeo's trip and the proposed second meeting between Kim and Trump would make "irreversible, decisive progress in terms of denuclearisation as well as the peace process".
Kono also said he and Pompeo didn't go into details of a possible war-end declaration because it's premature while there is virtually no progress in denuclearization.
Pompeo said en route to Asia he aimed "to make sure we understand what each side is truly trying to achieve".
"Yeah, so we had a great, great visit this morning", Pompeo replied. "And we had a very successful morning, so thank you".
It was Pompeo's fourth trip to Pyongyang and his first visit since July, when he spent the night and left with little to show for his journey. Trump promised North Korea security guarantees and "new" relations.
Nauert also said she could not comment much further on the goal of Pompeo's time in China.
The North also has accused Washington of making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands on denuclearization and insisted that sanctions should be lifted before any progress in nuclear talks.
"As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today".
The US secretary of state and the North Korean leader also discussed "denuclearization steps".
South Korean President Moon Jae-in held talks with Pompeo in Seoul after the top USA diplomat met with Kim for more than three hours during a short trip to Pyongyang that was aimed at breaking a gridlock in their nuclear negotiations.
North and South Korea want a "phased" approach with Pyongyang rewarded as it it happens.
Before visiting Pyongyang, Pompeo held talks in Tokyo with Japan's prime minister, and pledged that the Trump administration would coordinate and unify its strategy for denuclearization with its allies.
After a summit between the leaders of the two Koreas last month, Kim said he was prepared to permanently dismantle his country's main nuclear site at Yongbyon, but only if the United States took "corresponding steps" to build trust.
Pompeo visited Tokyo on Friday and is also due to travel to Beijing on Monday.
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