Pompeo will meet Kim Jong-un on Sunday, US State Department says


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading back to North Korea for another round of talks aimed at getting Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons.

Those were the words U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used to describe how he feels about his return to North Korea this weekend to continue denuclearization talks with the regime.

The department said Pompeo, after wrapping up his North Korea visit, will come to Seoul, also on Sunday, and brief President Moon Jae-in and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha about his talks in Pyongyang.

Both Pompeo and Trump spoke about a second North Korean summit in positive terms last week in NY, while attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Pompeo is set to visit Pyongyang on Sunday for nuclear negotiations, his first trip since an earlier one was cancelled by Trump over a lack of progress.

"I think it shows forward progress and momentum that the secretary is making his fourth trip in less than a year", State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. North Korea has placed a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, dismantled parts of weapons testing site, and has pushed for an easing of sanctions before it completely relinquishes its nuclear arsenal.

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Pompeo's trip at the weekend comes as the U.S. hopes to move forward in negotiations with the North, which has repeatedly complained the Trump administration has not reciprocated its good will. Pompeo said he expects to a plan for a second summit between Kim and Trump, and to make progress on a "pathway for denuclearisation".

The stalled denuclearization talks were put back on track after North Korea offered to dismantle its major nuclear complex in Yongbyon if the USA took corresponding measures at the inter-Korean summit last month.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that the end of the Korean War can never be a "bargaining chip" for denuclearization, which analysts interpret as a demand for sanctions relief.

"I don't think Pompeo's trip, Saturday, would have been possible unless the two countries had a coordinated agenda regarding denuclearization", said Cho Sung-ryul, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy.

Kim, who as leader has rarely travelled outside North Korea, met in June in Singapore with Trump in the first-ever summit between the two countries.

North Korea says it first wants relief from punishing global sanctions. "We fell in love", he said.

USA officials have said the sanctions will remain in place until North Korea has "fully" and "verifiably" denuclearized. "I think the two sides adjusted their differences on what initial steps North Korea and the U.S. will each take", said Koh Yu-hwan, a Dongguk University professor.