Pompeo holds talks with N.Korean officials in Pyongyang

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Pyongyang, July 7 (IANS) Visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks over disarmament and improving bilateral relations with senior North Korean officials here on Saturday.

Pompeo and an American delegation reached Pyongyang on Friday in an effort to persuade the regime to take concrete steps that US President Donald Trump claimed he was promised by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore during their historic summit on June 12, reports the Guardian.

Earlier in the day, Pompeo left the Pyongyang guesthouse where the US delegation is staying to make a call through secure communications to Trump at his New Jersey golf club.

The national security advisor, John Bolton, and the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, also took part in the call.

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Pompeo briefed them on his initial round of talks on Friday with Kim Yong-chol, a former spy chief and vice chair of the ruling party.

As well as a working session on Friday, the two men had dinner, which the state department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, described as “relationship building”.

Nauert said that at times they were “cracking jokes” and “exchanging pleasantries”.

She said that progress had been made in Friday’s discussions, adding that the talks had covered the process of denuclearisation and the repatriation of American remains.

“We expect them to live up to their commitments,” Nauert added.

Pompeo’s visit to North Korea comes shortly after US reports, citing national intelligence officials, saying that Pyongyang has not only continued to enrich uranium since June 12 but that it would be trying to hide a good part of its arsenal and reserves from Washington.

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Later Saturday, Pompeo will travel to Tokyo, where he is due to meet his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Taro Kono and Kang Kyung-wha respectively, to analyse the results of his trip.

–IANS

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