Pompeo says progress made with North Korea amid denuclearisation talks

It is Mr Pompeo's third trip to Pyongyang

It is Mr Pompeo's third trip to Pyongyang Credit AP

Update at 2000 KST: This article has been amended with the latest developments on Pompeo's visit North Korean and USA officials held a second day of meetings in Pyongyang on Saturday, with both sides saying there several key issues they need to "clarify". Before this trip, Pompeo said he was hoping to "fill in" some of the details on what North Korea committed to at the summit.

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

The statement North Korea released after those meetings sharply criticized Pompeo for failing to follow through on the progress Trump and Kim had made in Singapore.

Speaking to members of the U.S.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, says North Korea could dismantle its nuclear arsenal within a year, but other US officials have said they hope it can be accomplished by the end of Trump's first term in the White House, in January 2021.

"At the same time, as long as the actions are to continue to keep economic pressure on North Korea, actions here will speak louder than words, and only those kinds of actions will ultimately bring North Korea to the place we'd like them to be", Blunt continued.

Hours later, Pyongyang gave a much more negative assessment, saying Washington had broken the spirit of last month's summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This miracle can be yours.

The statement, by an unnamed foreign ministry official, was in sharp contrast with the account given by Mr Pompeo as he left North Korea for Japan just hours before. The statement was sure to fuel growing skepticism in the US and elsewhere over how serious Kim is about giving up his nuclear arsenal.

"People are going to make stray comments after meetings", Pompeo said. If I paid attention to what the press said, I'd go nuts, and I refuse to do that.

During a day and a half of talks in Pyongyang, Pompeo had sought to hammer out details on how to dismantle North Korea's nuclear programs, including a timeline.

"And to our North Korean friends, I can't say the word friend yet".

"The road ahead will be hard and challenging, and we know critics will try to minimize the work that we have achieved", he said.

He said North Korea had confirmed it meant to destroy a missile-engine testing facility and the two sides discussed the "modalities" of what that would look like.

Pompeo and North Korean leadership - though Kim didn't show up for the talks - wrapped up two days of talks with commitments for more discussions on nukes and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

"Across the range of weapons and missiles, it's a broad definition of denuclearisation, and the North Koreans understand that and have not challenged that", he said. There are signs that North Korea has been expanding some missile manufacturing sites.

The statement came shortly after Pompeo said he had made progress "on nearly all of the central issues" in the talks, including on setting a timeline for its denuclearisation, though more work remained to be done.

The alleged gift came after the song became a point of discussion for Trump and Kim during their summit in Singapore last month. The promised remains have yet to be delivered.

"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 denuclearization of North Korea", Pompeo said.

"The US side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearisation, just calling for CVID, declaration and verification, all of which run counter to the spirit of the Singapore summit meeting and talks".

And while both sides are still at the very tentative stages of trust-building, he said: "It's going to take time, but eventually we can not just keep on going this way because we will end up going nowhere".

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