North Korea talks either 'very productive' or 'deeply regrettable'

Mike Pompeo addresses the media before boarding his plane at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang

The US secretary of state was on a two-day visit to Pyongyang for high-level talks with Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee.

Mr. Pompeo said he spent "a good deal of time" discussing a denuclearisation timeline and the declaration of the North's nuclear and missile facilities.

The spokesman apparently rejected the USA demand and reiterated Pyongyang's call for a "phased" and "synchronous" approach, saying that it would be the shortest way to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported.

"Nothing could be further from the truth", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in response.

The remarks exposed the fragility surrounding discussions at the center of President Trump's foreign policy, raising questions about Pyongyang's intentions and whether the Foreign Ministry's statement represents a temporary outburst or if it signified a deeper misunderstanding between the two negotiating teams.

And he said progress had been made towards agreeing "the modalities" of North Korea's destruction of a missile facility.

Just hours after Pompeo arrived in Tokyo, the North blasted the discussions, saying the visit had been 'regrettable'.

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Pompeo also said that there would be a meeting next week about the repatriation of remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War.

North Korean state-run news agency KCNA released a statement saying the U.S.is "fatally mistaken" if officials believe the country would follow through with aggressive demands to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

After the Singapore summit, which also saw the USA offer "security guarantees" to North Korea and promise to end its military drills with South Korea, Mr Trump claimed that the North no longer posed a nuclear threat.

The talks between Mr Pompeo and Mr Kim Yong Chol were the first high-level, face-to-face meetings since Mr Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un met last month in Singapore, where they reached an agreement to work toward denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, among other things.

Speaking in Tokyo after two days of intense discussions in Pyongyang, Pompeo insisted the talks were making progress and were being conducted in "good faith." Trump said after the Singapore summit that Kim had agreed to send the remains back to the United States.

The outcome of the latest US-North Korean talks on denuclearization was clearly a matter of perspective. Nauert later said the U.S. wasn't putting a timeline on the process.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has begun his first trip to Pyongyang since President Donald Trump's summit with leader Kim Jong Un last month with a vow to nail down the specifics of the commitments Kim made on denuclearization.

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"President Trump is committed to a brighter future for North Korea", Pompeo was quoted as having said in the pool report.

The statement, which referred to the North's formal name of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), was carried by the official KCNA news agency on Saturday soon after Pompeo left Pyongyang.

Kim later said that "there are things that I have to clarify" to which Pompeo responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well".

He said that a meeting between the two sides has been set up on July 12 in Panmunjom along the inter-Korean border to discuss in a day or two the repatriation of US soldiers' remains left in the DPRK in the 1950s. Some places, a great deal of progress.

But this week's visit to the North - Pompeo's third this year - did not see him meet with Kim Jong Un, contrary to initial plans for the trip.

Also high on the agenda is the issue of the remains of USA soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.

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