US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang for nuclear talks

PHOTO: AFP

PYONGYANG - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang Friday (July 6) to press Kim Jong Un for a more detailed commitment to denuclearisation following the North Korean leader's historic summit with President Donald Trump.

Pompeo was greeted in the North Korean capital by Kim's right hand man Kim Yong Chol and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, pool reports said.

Since meeting Kim in Singapore last month Trump has been bullish about hopes for peace, boasting that the threat of nuclear war is over.

But the statement the leaders signed was short on clear commitments.

Kim agreed to the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" - a stock phrase favoured by Pyongyang that stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

Pompeo has been tasked with negotiating a plan that Washington hopes would involve Kim declaring the extent of his nuclear weapons programme and agreeing a timetable for it to be dismantled.

"Our leaders made commitments at the Singapore summit on the complete denuclearisation of North Korea," Pompeo had earlier told reporters travelling with him on a journey that included a stop at Yokota, a US airbase in Japan.

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

"I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same," he added, using the initials of North Korea's official name.

The top US diplomat, who arrived with senior aides in Pyongyang Friday morning, is to stay overnight in the North Korean capital for the first time.

In a tweet the Secretary of State said he was "looking forward to continuing our work toward the final, fully verified denuclearisation of #DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim".

Washington hopes that "complete" denuclearisation can begin within a year, but many expert observers and Trump critics warn that Kim's summit promise meant little and the process could take years - if it ever starts.

In the meantime, Pompeo and Trump have vowed to keep in place the international economic sanctions that they believe forced the North to the negotiating table in the first place.

The US delegation was set to have lunch with Kim Yong Chol, a senior North Korean official and former spymaster, on arrival in Pyongyang.

After talks late Friday and early Saturday in the capital, Pompeo is due to fly on to Tokyo to brief his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.

His round-the-world diplomatic voyage will then take him on to Vietnam and Abu Dhabi before he arrives in the Belgian capital Brussels to rejoin Trump for next week's NATO summit.

When Trump met Kim: A Singapore story

  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un made history Tuesday, becoming the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet and shake hands, as they seek to end a tense decades-old nuclear stand-off.
  • It was a meeting many would have thought unimaginable just months ago.
  • The two men strode toward each other and shared the momentous handshake beneath the white-washed walls of an upscale hotel in neutral Singapore, before sitting down for a half-day of meetings with major ramifications for the world.
  • Prior to the meeting held at Capella Hotel in Singapore's resort island of Sentosa, Trump had said that he would know "within the first minute", whether any agreement would be possible.
  • The watching world is not sure if it's the start of a beautiful, budding "bromance", but here's a look at how the world's most talked-about first date unfolded.
  • Their handshake reportedly lasted for 12 long seconds (though still 7 seconds shorter than his memorable handshake with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe).
  • Trump also reached out to touch the North Korean leader on his right shoulder.
  • According to a body language expert Karen Leong, the first 60 seconds showed both leaders seeking to take charge in their encounter. US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un both sought to project a sense of command. "Their handshake seems to be between peers," she said.
  • "Trump seemed to be very aware of this, that he needed to up the stakes and be seen that he is the leader."
  • Trump did most of the talking, and Kim appeared to listen attentively, turning to him three times during their walk toward their meeting room.
  • Trump did most of the talking, and Kim appeared to listen attentively, turning to him three times during their walk toward their meeting room.
  • The US President, who is more than twice Kim's age, then appeared to lead the way to the library where they held a one-on-one meeting, placing his hand on the North Korean leader's counterpart's back.
  • Kim also patted the US president' arm, in an attempt to show control over the encounter, said Leong.
  • The leaders appeared to share a few light-hearted moments as they walked down a corridor to the hotel's library.
  • However, Leong said both found it difficult to conceal their nervousness once they were seated, with Trump displaying a slanted smile, and fidgeting with his hands and Kim leaning and staring at the ground.
  • As they sat down for their one-on-one meeting, the US leader predicted a "terrific relationship" with Kim.
  • Mr Kim then said through a translator: “The way to come to here was not easy.The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward but we overcame all of them and we are here today.”
  • After their closed door one-on-one talks, the pair continued with explanded bilateral talks with their delegation. Trump was flanked by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton.
  • Sitting across the table from the US team were North Korean leader Kim, Kim Yong-chol, first vice department director of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Ri Su-yong, Workers’ Party vice chairman on international affairs.
  • Thereafter, the two leaders attended a working lunch with their respective delegations at Capella Hotel.
  • On the lunch menu: Main courses include beef short rib confit, served with potato dauphinois and steamed broccoli; sweet and sour crispy pork and fried rice with an "XO" chilli sauce as well as a Korean dish called "daegu jorim", which is a soy braised cod fish with radish and Asian vegetables.
  • Post-lunch, Kim and Trump then went for a leisurely stroll around the hotel grounds.
  • He also said talks had gone "better than anybody could have expected", and indicated that they were heading for a "signing", but did not divulge any details of the agreement.
  • During their walk, Trump unexpectedly gave Kim a peek into his super limo, nicknamed "The Beast".
  • But they did not get to hop on to go for a joyride, as commentators had hoped.
  • The pair met to sign an agreement, details of which were not revealed during the signing. Trump said: "We're signing a very important document, pretty comprehensive document, and we've had a really great time together, a great relationship... More will be discussed at a press conference soon."
  • When asked what he learnt about Kim, Trump said that he is "a very talented man", and that "he loves his country very much".
  • Mr Trump also described Mr Kim as a "very worthy, very smart negotiator".
  • According to sources after the signing, the two leaders pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy.
  • The signatures of US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said he expected the denuclearization process to start "very, very quickly".
  • Kim places a hand on Trump's back as they leave the room after the signing.
  • After the signing, the pair walked out for another round of photo-taking.
  • Reports say Mr Kim departed Singapore on a chartered Air China flight at 11.20pm and midnight on Tuesday, while Trump left on Air Force One earlier at 6.25pm.
  • At 4pm, Trump held a press conference on the summit outcome and details on the agreement signed.
  • "We signed a joint statement that is an unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of North Korea," he says.
  • The Capella Hotel on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa, provided the backdrop for the historic summit.
  • Trump's motorcade arriving at Sentosa on Tuesday (June 12) morning.
  • Setting the stage ready for the handshake that will be seen across the world.
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