Pompeo Heads Back to North Korea

Kwon Geun center weeps with his South Korean relatives as he bids farewell after the Separated Family Reunion Meeting at Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea Oct. 22 2015

Korea Pool

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang on Friday-his third visit to North Korea's capital-to work out the details of last month's Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un.

"I'm confident what he intended there was, 'We did reduce the threat, ' " Pompeo said last week at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

The State Department is pushing back against suggestions the Trump administration has softened its stance on North Korea as the top USA diplomat travels to Pyongyang for crucial nuclear talks.

Pompeo landed in Japan early on Friday for a brief stopover before flying to North Korea, according to a pool report by reporters traveling with him.

The agreement signed by Mr. Trump and Kim left out the words "verifiable" and "irreversible" when referencing the denuclearization process. North Korea's cabinet mouthpiece Minju Joson described "a great victory of the independent and peaceful reunification policy set forth by the President and an epoch-making event that provided a basic cornerstone of inter-Korean ties and the national reunification movement".

Basketball diplomacy has something of a history in North Korea.

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"Nothing has changed in North Korea", Kim said.

South and North Korean basketball players took to the court Wednesday in Pyongyang for their first friendly game in 15 years, surrounded by thousands of North Koreans chanting "peace" and "prosperity".

"I clearly state the following: We do not wish for North Korea's collapse, and will not work towards any kind of unification through absorption".

During the working-level talks, Japan also reiterated its position that sanctions would remain in place unless the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization, the sources said. After the summit, Trump suspended annual military training with South Korea that the North has called an invasion rehearsal.

It says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearises, but in statements this week, has redefined the US goal as "the final, fully verified denuclearisation" of the country.

"Pompeo returns to Pyongyang under less than ideal circumstances".

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On Thursday, Trump also mentioned Elton John during a campaign rally for Republican state auditor Matt Rosendale in Montana. It's crucial that Pompeo leaves Pyongyang with something substantial, he said. The officials said they believe Kim may be trying to hide the secret facilities. So you need a long slow exploration in which most ideas come from our side. He recalled that it took a long time during his experience negotiating with the North Koreans to figure out that food aid would be a key negotiating tool for the US because it was something that North Korea really wanted during the time.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not show up as of press time. That visit catapulted both Washington and North Korea to re-start the planning process for the Trump-Kim summit.

One diplomatic source in Washington said, "The "Rocket Man" CD was the subject of discussion during Trump's lunch with Kim".

Pompeo will also be meeting with Kim Jong Un.

The remains could be returned at the DMZ or at one of two military installations in South Korea, Osan Air Base and Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, the official said.

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