Kim expected to meet 'soon' with leaders of China, Russia: Seoul

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Pope Francis in the Vatican next week, where he will deliver the message from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he is welcome in Pyongyang, presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-keum said Tuesday.

Mr Kim held an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, and pledged to work toward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Commenting on Pompeo's meeting with Kim, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Kim was expected to visit Russian Federation soon. "We are not quite there yet".

"And I think he knows it and I think that's one of the reasons that we're having very successful conversations".

Speaking to reporters en route to Japan, Pompeo said the plan was to "develop options for both location and timing" for a second summit, although he doubted they would "get it nailed" down mostly due to scheduling and logistics issues.

Pompeo's trip to Asia began Saturday in Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The US is pushing for a "final, fully verified denuclearisation" but North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told the United Nations general assembly in September there was "no way" his country would disarm first as long as tough US sanctions remained against his country.

The Catholic Church, like any other religion, is only allowed to operate in North Korea under extremely tight restrictions, and within the confines of the KCA.

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North Korea so far has suspended nuclear and missile tests, freed three American prisoners and dismantled parts of a missile engine facility and tunnel entrances at a nuclear test site.

North Korea has said they'd like to see Trump come meet Kim in Pyongyang; Pompeo said he couldn't answer whether that proposal has been ruled out. "But it is wholly in keeping with North Korea's desire to maintain the upper hand in the global public narrative, shaping a discourse where it is the driver of peace".

This is the first time a pope is being invited to North Korea since Kim Jong-un's father, Kim Jong-il, invited Pope John Paul II in 2000.

There are now an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people in North Korea's six political prison camps, in which the U.S. State Department has found evidence of starvation, forced labor and torture.

The last time that Pope Francis visited neighboring South Korea, the North "marked" the visit with a missile launch. "I paid nothing", Trump said in the Oval Office, apparently referring to an Obama-era Iran deal.

Pompeo said it is important for the two allies to have a "fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful on denuclearizing North Korea".

Mr Pompeo's trip came after a stalemate between the two countries after North Korea resisted demands for the country to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Rising tensions have fueled concern in Beijing and Washington that the president's trade fight could, if left unchecked, foster a new Cold War between the two countries. The South Korean Catholic leader and Kim had another occasion to speak on the last day of Moon's visit to the North.

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