U.S. secretary of state heads to North Korea for nuclear talks

"Secretary Pompeo accepted Chairman Kim's invitation to travel to Pyongyang next month to make further progress on the implementation of the commitments from the US-DPRK Singapore summit, including the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, and to prepare for a second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim", she said in a statement.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo will meet with Kim in Pyongyang on October 7.

But Pompeo did not meet Kim on his last visit in July, when the North Korean leader instead was photographed touring a potato farm.

Ri Yong-ho, North Korea's foreign minister, said at the United Nations last week that "there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, third right, and delegation members pose for the media on their arrival at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

Prior to visiting Pyongyang, Pompeo will stop in Japan Saturday and Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

Nauert didn't provide specific details of what Pompeo plans to discuss with the North Korean leader, but she said the meeting will focus on Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities.

The United States has nonetheless insisted on maintaining tight UN sanctions against North Korea during the diplomatic drive, while Beijing has said it is time to start easing sanctions.

Since then, North Korea has suspended missile testing and has taken some steps to dismantle facilities associated with its nuclear program, but it has not halted weapons development.

US officials have said the sanctions will remain in place until North Korea has "fully" and "verifiably" denuclearized. Washington has also resisted calls to relax tough global sanctions. He left Pyongyang in July hailing progress, only for North Korea to denounce him for making "gangster-like demands".

Rep. Kim Sam-hwa of the center-right Bareunmirae Party said it was every Korean's wish to establish a peace regime on the peninsula through North Korea's irreversible denuclearization.

He made an earlier trip there, in April, when he was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, who handles nuclear weapons issues and negotiations with the United States, arrived in Beijing on Thursday on a two-country trip that will also take her to Russian Federation.

She said that in the meantime, sanctions would remain in place. "So I was reiterating this as a time line that they were potentially prepared to agree to", Pompeo said at the State Department. "Nothing has changed with regard to our policy".

"He said he wanted to achieve complete denuclearization as soon as possible and focus on economic development", Moon told the Times. Last week, Trump accused China of seeking to meddle in the November 6 USA congressional elections, saying it did not want his Republican Party to do well.

"Without any trust in the USA, there will be no confidence in our national security, and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".

  • Jon Douglas