Kono, Pompeo to meet over N.Korea


Before meeting Trump, Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for about an hour in a Washington hotel.

Previously there have been reports that North Korea is continuing its nuclear weapons program even after the Singapore summit, which the USA said does not mean the North Korean leader's will to denuclearize has diminished as there was no agreement on that reached between the two sides yet.

Pompeo and Kim were expected to discuss matters including the date and venue for a possible second meeting between Trump and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un after their first summit in Singapore a year ago.

The forthcoming summit, if held as scheduled, will be the second face-to-face encounter between Trump and Kim Jong-un, following the first one in Singapore last June.

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"Both ministers agreed to coordinate a proposal to hold talks between the foreign ministers of Japan and the United States in mid-February, if circumstances allow", the Japanese ministry said in a statement.

Many observers say this is an intermediate stage to the complete denuclearization of North Korea, and that the U.S.is taking the "phased" approach.

Kono and Pompeo have also shown cooperation in resolving the problems of the Japanese citizens abducted in the past by North Korean intelligence services, as per the reports. Pyongyang knows only of 13 such instances, out of which five were released and the remaining eight died. The tensed situation at the Korean Peninsula has been a major topic of discussion among the US, North and South Korea.

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the US and North Korea have made progress in their denuclearization talks, while officials from the two countries have begun negotiations to craft details of agreement for a second summit next month.