Update at 2115 KST: This article has been updated more details from Sunday’s meeting.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Sunday, the Secretary confirmed in a tweet sent later in the day.
In a post on social media, the Secretary of State thanked the DPRK leader for hosting the talks and said the two sides had discussed progress towards implementing agreements made in Singapore earlier in the year.
“Had a good trip to #Pyongyang to meet with Chairman Kim,” Pompeo tweeted. “We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore Summit. Thanks for hosting me and my team.”
A meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in later in the day saw the Secretary of State report that he and Kim had discussed, among other things, the need to hold a planned U.S.-DPRK summit at the “earliest possible time.”
The talks took place at Pyongyang’s Paekhwawon Guest House for over two hours.
“It’s a very nice day that promises a good future for both countries,” Kim Jong Un reportedly told Pompeo at the meeting, in comments carried in a pool report and published by NBC News.
“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,” the Secretary of State was reported to have replied.
Also present at Sunday’s meeting were, an image posted by Pompeo suggested, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and the DPRK’s Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim Jong Un and first vice director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 7, 2018
Also present on the North Korean side was Kim Song Hye, who serves as a high-ranking official in the DPRK ruling party’s United Front Department.
She notably accompanied Kim Yong Chol, who serves as vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and director of the United Front Department of the WPK Central Committee, on a visit to New York for meetings with the U.S. Secretary of State in May.
Sunday’s meeting was Pompeo’s fourth with the North Korean leader and their third in the North Korean capital.
The talks also represent the most high-level U.S.-DPRK diplomatic contact since Kim Jong Un’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.
The month after that landmark summit saw Pompeo travel to Pyongyang for the third time this year – a visit during which he did not meet with Kim Jong Un.
One unnamed official was on Sunday said to have remarked to pool reporters that the day’s meeting was “better than the last time,” while acknowledging that “It’s going to be a long haul.”
Pompeo was reported to have landed in Pyongyang just before noon on Sunday, having departed from Tokyo following a round of meeting’s with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and foreign minister Taro Kono.
En route to Asia on Friday, the Secretary of State told a pool reporter the goal of this weekend’s talks would be “to make sure we understand what each side is truly trying to achieve.”
Also on the agenda, he added, would be the “general date and location” of a planned second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Following talks with Kim, Pompeo flew to Seoul, South Korea, where he met with President Moon Jae-in around 1900 local time for a 40 minute meeting.
“Secretary Pompeo said he shared his views with chairman Kim that [both] should hold the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the earliest possible time,” Senior Secretary to the President for Public Communication Yoon Young-chan said in a written statement.
“And he also said both the U.S. and North Korean sides will continue discussions to decide specific timing and venue for the second summit,” Yoon said.
Pompeo also told Moon he and Kim had discussed “denuclearization measures that will be taken by North Korea,” as well as logistics for the U.S. government’s inspection of sites that are taken out of commission.
“Both discussed corresponding measures that the U.S. will take,” Yoon said. “He also said both sides agreed to discuss issues including North Korea’s denuclearization process and the schedule for the North-U.S. summit at the earliest possible time by forming a working-level negotiation group.”
President Moon in turn said today’s meeting was “greatly significant” for the two Koreas and the U.S., expressing his “deep gratitude” toward Pompeo for holding talks in Seoul as soon as his trip to Pyongyang was finished.
“I hope that Secretary Pompeo’s visit to North Korea and the second U.S.-North Korea summit, which will take place soon, will serve as an opportunity to make an irreversible, decisive advance on denuclearization and the peace process on the Korean peninsula,” the South Korean President said.
Pompeo agreed it was important to visit Pyongyang and Seoul in sequence, according to a transcript provided by pool reporters in Korean, emphasizing the Moon administration’s role in pushing forward with denuclearization.
In response to Moon’s suggestion he make public the results of his meeting with Kim in front of the media, Pompeo promised to share the details in their one-on-one meeting instead.
“I will certainly tell you in private about our conversation, but we had a good, productive conversation,” Pompeo told Moon in a statement carried by AP.
“As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way and we took one of them today. It was another step forward. So this is, I think, a good outcome for all of us.”
The U.S. State Department said Pompeo was scheduled to meet South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha in Seoul at 2000 local time, though the ROK foreign ministry on Sunday declined to share details on the time and venue of the meeting.
The Secretary of State is expected to head to Beijing tomorrow.
Featured image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Twitter
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