During Pompeo's trip, North Korea could follow through on its earlier agreement to return the remains of USA soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War, but it's unclear what denuclearization measures the country would agree to. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPMA), about 7,700 US troops are missing from the Korean War, and about 5,300 of that total are believed to have fallen in North Korea.
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday (July 5) he believes that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sees a different future for his country, as America's top diplomat heads to Pyongyang for talks on denuclearisation.
Pompeo is expected to land in Pyongyang at around noon (0300 GMT) after a brief stopover in Japan, according to a pool report by reporters traveling with him.
The KCNA said that the South and North Korean athletes were "warmly welcomed by spectators" when they entered the gymnasium where they played the games between the "Peace Team" and the "Prosperity Team".
Last month, the 38 North website, which monitors North Korean activity, said commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station showed no dismantlement activity of its rocket engine test stand.
"I'm confident what he intended there was, 'We did reduce the threat, ' " Pompeo said last week at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. Lee, who plans to bring two or three North Korean players to the Asian Games, said he was impressed with "No. 9 and No. 7 on Team Peace, " referring to North Korea's Ri Jong Ok and Jang Mi Kyong.More news: Top tips as Southern Water faces a heatwave demand
The mixed messaging inside the Trump administration has been taken as an indication that the United States may be backing off its original demand that North Korea completely dismantle its nuclear program before receiving any sanctions relief.
To keep nuclear diplomacy alive, Pyongyang must soon dismantle its nuclear warheads, nuclear materials such as weapons-grade plutonium or uranium, and long-range missiles or ship them to the USA, according to analyst Cho Han Bum at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification. This is his third trip to North Korea.
US officials remain skeptical whether Pompeo's visit will produce palpable results. The report also cited a Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that the North is unlikely to follow through on the pledge to denuclearize. "The secretary has been very clear and very blunt with the North Koreans about what he expects".
That 1953 agreement established the border between North and South Korea, and a demilitarized the zone between the two nations, History.com noted.
Go Myong-Hyun of the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies said the United States may focus on demanding the dismantling of missiles, whose size makes them harder to hide than warheads and nuclear materials.
Japan said it is ready to normalize ties with and provide economic support to North Korea following a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, according to the sources.