Japan officials to work together on North Korea

REUTERS               Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad

President Donald Trump said Sunday he looks forward to a second meeting soon with Kim Jong Un and hailed a weekend conference between his secretary of state and the North Korean leader.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 7, 2018.

He would not be specific but said he and Kim had agreed to shortly begin working-level talks on the nuts and bolts of denuclearization, on the placement of worldwide inspectors at one of North Korea's main nuclear facilities, and had come close to finalizing a date and venue for the next Kim-Trump summit.

Pompeo and Kim also agreed to instruct their respective working-level teams to meet soon to intensify discussions on the key remaining issues to deliver on the Singapore Summit Joint Statement.

Washington and Pyongyang have sparred over the exact terms of the vaguely-worded agreement in Singapore, with the U.S. pushing to maintain sanctions and pressure against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation".

"It's a very nice day that promises a good future", Kim said, "for both countries".

The trip was the latest turn in a diplomatic saga that saw Trump and Kim threaten each other with nuclear war past year only for them to hold their historic summit in Singapore.

Instead, the top US diplomat has been tasked by his boss with preparing for a second summit with Kim Jong Un, which the North Koreans are pushing for, but that analysts warn will hurt USA goals.

North Korea's foreign minister said last week that Pyongyang will not disarm without first receiving concessions from Washington.

An official accompanying the delegation who declined to be named said the trip had gone "better than the last time" but added it is going to be a "long haul". "Progress made on Singapore Summit Agreements!"

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.

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During a closed meeting with Moon, Pompeo said he and Kim agreed to arrange the second U.S. "We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore summit".

Pompeo replied: "So we had a great, great visit this morning".

Today's visit will thus likely aim to fix damaged bilateral ties while reaffirming a commitment to North Korean denuclearisation-the general objective of Mr Pompeo's tour.

"President Trump wants the second meeting, and I think he can nearly spin anything coming out of North Korea to make the second summit happen anyway", said Terry. "We will bring up the issue of the abductees as well and then we will share with you how we hope to proceed when we are in Pyongyang tomorrow".

The US secretary of state and the North Korean leader also discussed "denuclearization steps".

An official of the State Department was not immediately able to confirm Pompeo's arrival in Pyongyang, from where outside communication can be limited. South Korea is urging the U.S.to make its next demand the dismantlement of North Korea's main nuclear facility, Yongbyon, instead of declaring its inventory, which could lead to squabbling without trust-building actions, according to Kang. Tension between the two governments also surfaced at last month's U.N. Security Council meeting when President Trump accused the Chinese government of trying to interfere in the U.S.'s upcoming midterm elections.

Nauert also said she could not comment much further on the objective of Pompeo's time in China.

Both Koreas have differed with the United States on North Korea's nuclear program.

North and South Korea want a "phased" approach with Pyongyang rewarded as it it happens.

Pompeo had flown to Pyongyang from Tokyo after talks there with Japan's prime minister during which he pledged the Trump administration would coordinate and unify its strategy for denuclearisation with allies.

Also on Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he expects Kim to travel to Russian Federation and for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit North Korea soon amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear crisis.

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