Mike Pompeo cites 'real progress' after high-level talks with North Korea

Highest-level official North Korean visit to US in 18 years offers hope for summit

Highest-level official North Korean visit to US in 18 years offers hope for summit

Kim Yong-chol is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the U.S.in 18 years, and his trip to the White House will be a highly symbolic sign of easing tensions after fears of war escalated amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year. Trump was expected to meet with the official in the Oval Office.

But Pompeo suggested things are moving in the right direction.

"It is clear that the process of rapprochement between the U.S. and the DPRK and their abandonment of hostility and mistrust in relations, without which any lasting agreements are impossible, will take a long time and will necessitate well-calibrated moves to meet each other halfway", said the senior diplomat.

The meeting was the first ever between the North Korean leader and a Russian official - and Lavrov used the opportunity to invite Kim for a return fixture in Moscow. There's a very good chance that it won't be done in one meeting or two meetings or three meetings.

Pompeo, Trump's former Central Intelligence Agency chief, has traveled to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks for meetings with Kim Jong Un. "That's what these ongoing conversations taking place now will be centered on, as well as the summit that would take place in Singapore".

North Korea conducted a series of missile tests and nuclear detonations previous year, which led to the imposition of additional United Nations Security Council resolutions meant to isolate the country economically.

The American leader later cancelled the 12 June summit before backtracking shortly before the North and South Korean leaders met again for a second time and agreed to resume talks between the two countries.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2nd L) holds talks with North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol (2nd R) in NY, on May 31, 2018.

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Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to the North Korean leader, is a major player in the North Korean government and considered a tough negotiator.

"We've had lots of conversations around that", he said.

Experts cautiously raised the possibility Thursday that South Korea, North Korea and the USA could declare an end to the Korean War in Singapore following a Pyongyang-Washington summit later this month, amid preparations in full swing for the historic summit.

Kim has rejected previous USA calls for North Korea's unilateral nuclear disarmament and argued instead for a "phased" approach to denuclearisation of the entire Korean peninsula.

President Donald Trump at the White House on May 16.

The two men met for 45 minutes and Jo brought Clinton a letter from Kim Jong-il, the late father of North Korea's current leader.

Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters in Washington that Pompeo's meetings with Kim, North Korea's former military intelligence chief whom the State Department describes as Kim Jong-un's "point person", had been going "very well".

Trump, the official said, "can make a fly or no-fly decision anytime he wants", referring to the possible Singapore summit. The U.S. president reversed his stance following a subsequent quick and conciliatory statement from North Korea expressing Kim's "fixed will" for his meeting with Trump to occur. Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.

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