North Korea bucks in nuke talks: 'Our resolve for denuclearization ... may falter'


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a second day of talks in North Korea on Saturday attempting to agree details on how to dismantle the country's nuclear program, and both sides said they had things to "clarify" from the previous day.

"We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it's the case that we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to, which is the complete denuclearisation of North Korea", Mr. Pompeo said.

Mr Pompeo said in Tokyo there was still a lot of work to do but he was confident North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would stick to a commitment to abandon nuclear weapons that he made during a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last month.

Pompeo actually corrected him to say that he did sleep well: "Director Kim, I slept just fine".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on Sunday. "Some places a great deal of progress, other places there's still more work to be done", he said.

Remarkably, the North Korean foreign ministry seemed taken aback by the US calls that it abandon its nuclear arsenal - ostensibly the entire point behind last month's meeting in Singapore between Trump and Kim.

Kim said he heard Pompeo was "quite pleased" with the two sides' first meeting, but dropped a warning that "there are things that I have to clarify".

"Particularly, they have suggested that they are disappointed by the United States insistence on focusing on the denuclearisation plans over what they described as big-picture issues", she said. One US senator pointed a finger at China for encouraging North Korea to be tougher.

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He added that his two days of talks with senior North Korean officials had "made progress" and included a "detailed and substantive discussion about the next steps towards a fully verified and complete denuclearisation".

North Korean officials, however, said some of the issues the USA raised were the same issues that sank previous talks of denuclearization.

"The settlement of the outstanding issues of concern surrounding North Korea, including the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, will be extremely important for Japan and also extremely important for peace and stability in the world", Pompeo told Abe.

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Pompeo did not meet Kim Jong-un during his visit, but he handed over a letter to the North Korean leader from Trump.

Pompeo, who spoke with Trump, national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly by secure phone before starting Saturday's session, replied that he "slept just fine". There are signs that North Korea has been expanding some missile manufacturing sites.

Pompeo said "good-faith, productive conversations" took place with North Korea and that the two countries "made progress". "If they're able to do this, they will be remembered and Chairman Kim will be remembered as a hero of the Korean people". We sell them $100 billion, they sell is $500 billion, we can hurt them more than they will hurt us.

"I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding", said CNN global affairs analyst Joseph Yun, a former top United States diplomat on North Korea policy.

But North Korea was careful not to criticize the USA president specifically, emphasizing that "we wholly maintain our trust toward President Trump".