Both sides seek to 'clarify' as Pompeo holds more North Korea talks

Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol for a second day of talks at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang North Korea

Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol for a second day of talks at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang North Korea

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

The display of small talk among North Korean and US officials, a rarity given the infrequent contacts between the longtime adversaries, revealed both the tension at the heart of the nuclear negotiations and the increasing familiarity of the two men who have become diplomatic counterparts during Pompeo's three visits to Pyongyang and Kim's visit to New York City in May.

"Our expectation is exactly what the president and Kim Jong Un jointly agreed to in Singapore, and that is the denuclearisation of North Korea".

United States (US) and North Korean officials have set up working groups to deal with "nitty gritty stuff" including verification of efforts to achieve denuclearisation, a US State Department spokesman said on Saturday (July 8), the second day of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang.

She said Pompeo is being "very firm" in seeking three basic goals - complete denuclearization of North Korea, security assurances, and the repatriation of the remains of USA service members from the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the report.

Pompeo, who spoke with Trump, national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly by secure phone before starting Saturday's session, replied that he "slept just fine".

Pompeo and Kim met for almost three hours Friday and then had dinner amid growing skepticism over how serious Kim Jong Un is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and translating the upbeat rhetoric following his June 12 summit with Trump into concrete action. Pompeo is on a trip traveling to North Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels.

Ms Nauert said "progress" toward that goal had been made, but did not elaborate. North Korea committed at the summit to the "immediate repatriation" of remains already identified, but that hasn't happened yet.

Pompeo and his counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, revealed little about the content of their negotiations, leaving the focus on pleasantries and small talk as the two men grappled with the most pressing security issue facing the Asia Pacific.

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Many experts doubt Kim's sincerity - a nuclear deterrent to the USA military forces massed in South Korea has always been a strategic goal of his isolated, autocratic regime - and few expect this to be a quick process, even if Washington wants results within a year.

"On this trip, I'm seeking to fill in some details on these commitments and continue the momentum toward implementation of what the two leaders promised each other and the world", Mr Pompeo said.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Pompeo's delegation was taking part in high-level talks for implementing the Singapore summit statement but gave no more details.

Adding to the pressure on Pompeo to deliver tangible results is a leaked us intelligence assessment casting doubt on North Korea's willingness to relinquish its nuclear and missile arsenal.

She wouldn't characterize Friday's discussions beyond saying they addressed denuclearization and the repatriation of American remains, saying, "We expect them to live up to their commitments".

Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about talks.

Some officials in the State and Defense Departments and inU.S. intelligence agencies are anxious that Trump has put himself at a disadvantage by overstating the results of the Singapore summit.

The State Department says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearises but, in statements this week, it redefined the USA goal as "the final, fully verified denuclearisation" of the country. The State Department said its policy remains unchanged.

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