Pompeo seeks allied unity in dealing with North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described his talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday as "productive and wonderful", state media KCNA said on Monday, striking a positive tone compared with a previous state media stance when talks were stalled.

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.

"I am really pleased for this opportunity".

Trump later posted on Twitter that Pompeo "had a good meeting with Chairman Kim today in Pyongyang. After having a nice meeting we can enjoy a meal together", Kim told Pompeo as they walked down a hallway toward a guesthouse dining room. "I thought we had a good, productive conversation, and as President Trump has said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today, another step forward".

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kim had invited inspectors to visit the Punggye-ri nuclear test site to confirm it had been irreversibly dismantled.

Pompeo and Kim also discussed "denuclearisation steps that will be taken by North Korea and the issue of attendance by the United States government", as well as "corresponding measures" to be taken by the U.S., the statement said.

"Yeah, so we had a great, great visit this morning", Pompeo replied.

This photo taken from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tweet on October 7, 2018, shows him meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) in Pyongyang.

On his way to Asia from Washington, Pompeo stuck to his guns, indicating that the spirit of the agreement between Trump and Kim at Singapore in June was that "we will get to denuclearization in a fully verified, irreversible way, and then we will actually deliver on the commitments to make this brighter future for the North Korean people". He came away from it saying the two sides had made progress, only for North Korea to denounce him for making "gangster-like" demands and raising "cancerous" issues.

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

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He has also distanced himself from an earlier stated goal of achieving North Korea's nuclear weapons abandonment by the end of Trump's term in January 2021.

Pompeo was joined by US special representative on DPRK issues Stephen Biegun, and Kim was joined by Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea (WPK), the statement said.

He was referring to the meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump in June in Singapore. Japan has been wary of the initiative, but South Korea has embraced it.

That is not how Pyongyang sees things, nor is it the approach being advocated by Seoul.

The secretary of state added that South Korea has been an integral part of negotiations aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, and he passed along Trump's gratitude for the country's efforts.

The IAEA said in August it did not find any indication that North Korea had stopped its nuclear activities, adding to doubts about the country's willingness to abandon its arsenal. The war concluded with an armistice but no peace treaty.

In contrast with South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in has been at the forefront of encouraging Trump's rapprochement with the North, Japan has been decidedly cautious, insisting its interests and concerns be addressed.

Analysts say Washington may now consider new options as China, Russia and South Korea seek to relax sanctions.

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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