After meeting Kim, Pompeo hails 'progress' in nuclear talks

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SEOUL, South Korea — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held two hours of talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday and said the two sides continued to make progress toward denuclearization.

Shortly after arriving in South Korea following the visit, Pompeo posted a photo of himself walking along with Kim on Twitter, saying: “Had a good trip to #Pyongyang to meet with Chairman Kim. We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore Summit. Thanks for hosting me and my team @StateDept.”

Kim and Pompeo met for about two hours, including lunch at the Paekhwawon, or 100 Flowers Garden, a prestigious state guesthouse, according to a pool report.

The brief trip, his fourth since March, was initially planned in late August but called off at the last minute by President Donald Trump who blamed lack of progress.

“It’s a very nice day that promises a good future for both countries,” Kim said, speaking through an interpreter, as he sat down at the lunch table with Pompeo.

“Thank you for hosting, President Trump sends his regards. And we had a very successful morning, so thank you and I am looking forward to our time here at lunch as well,” Pompeo said.

Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization at his unprecedented meeting with Trump in Singapore in June, but Pyongyang’s actions have since fallen short of Washington’s demands for irreversible steps to give up its arsenal, including declaring all nuclear and missile facilities.

A U.S. official who was part of Pompeo’s delegation said the latest visit to the North was “better than the last time” but added: “It’s going to be a long haul.”

Pompeo’s last trip did not go well. He left Pyongyang in July hailing progress, only for North Korea to denounce him for making “gangster-like demands.” Pompeo did not meet Kim on that trip.

In Seoul, Pompeo was scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in later on Sunday before holding talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, according to Moon’s office.

Pompeo visited Tokyo on Friday and is also due to travel to Beijing before returning home on Monday.

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