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(3rd LD) Pompeo cites 'good progress' in talks with N.K. official

All News 03:12 June 01, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with Pompeo's tweet on meeting in paras 1-3; CHANGES headline; EDITS to conform)

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, May 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday his talks with a senior North Korean official produced "good progress" as both sides push to salvage a highly anticipated summit between their leaders.

Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the central committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, had a 2.5-hour meeting, finishing two hours ahead of schedule.

"Good progress today during our meetings with Kim Yong Chol and his team," the top U.S. diplomat tweeted. "#NorthKorea and the world would benefit greatly from the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The meeting was expected to determine whether the June 12 summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is back on after Trump canceled it last week.

Pompeo is due to hold a press conference at the Palace Hotel at 2:15 p.m.

"Substantive talks with the team from #NorthKorea," Pompeo tweeted shortly the talks concluded at the residence of the U.S. deputy representative to the United Nations. "We discussed our priorities for the potential summit between our leaders."

This photo provided by the U.S. State Department shows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) and Kim Yong-chol (L), vice chairman of the central committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, looking out over New York on May 30, 2018. (Yonhap)

If held, the Trump-Kim meeting will focus on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for security guarantees for the regime. It would also be the first summit between the two countries that have long been at odds over the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S.

"The potential summit between @POTUS and Chairman Kim presents #DPRK with a great opportunity to achieve security and economic prosperity," Pompeo tweeted before sitting down with Kim Yong-chol. "The people of #NorthKorea can have a brighter future and the world can be more peaceful."

POTUS is shorthand for president of the United States, while DPRK is the North's formal name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Trump said Pompeo and Kim had a "very good" meeting Wednesday when they met over dinner. He also said the North Korean delegation is expected to travel to Washington on Friday to deliver a letter from the leader.

"I look forward to seeing what's in the letter, but it's very important to them," he told reporters at Joint Base Andrews near Washington before departing for Texas. "I think it will be very positive."

This image shows a screen capture of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tweet on May 30, 2018. (Yonhap)

Kim Yong-chol arrived in New York a day earlier, becoming the highest-ranking North Korean to visit the U.S. in 18 years. Pompeo tweeted Wednesday they had a "good working dinner," with "steak, corn, and cheese on the menu."

This was the third meeting between Pompeo and Kim, known as a close aide to the young leader. They also met during Pompeo's two trips to Pyongyang in April and May.

The U.S. is pushing for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) as the North calls for CVIG, where G stands for security guarantees for the regime.

Negotiations are expected to focus on the sequencing of the denuclearization-for-security exchange as the U.S. seeks quick dismantlement and North Korea a "phased and synchronous" process.


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