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US-North Korea Diplomacy Picks Up With a Pompeo-Kim Encounter in Pyongyang

 
 

In Pyongyang on Sunday for his fourth trip in less than a year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The meeting marked the highest-level U.S.-North Korea diplomatic contact since the June summit between the leaders of the two countries in Singapore.

“Had a good trip to #Pyongyang to meet with Chairman Kim,” Pompeo said in a tweet. “We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore Summit. Thanks for hosting me and my team.”

A photograph released by the U.S. Department of State showed Pompeo and Kim trailed by various officials from their countries. The U.S. delegation included Stephen Biegun, the new U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, appointed in late August.

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On the North Korean side, Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and a top Workers’ Party of Korea official, was present, as was Kim Song Hye, a senior North Korean official in charge of inter-Korean reunification matters.

Neither the U.S. nor the North Korean side released an immediate detailed readout on the content of Pompeo’s talks with Kim. In Tokyo, before leaving for Pyongyang, Pompeo had assured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he would raise the issue of Japanese citizens that had been abducted by North Korea.

Prior to leaving Japan for the North Korean capital, Pompeo had tweeted that he was heading to Pyongyang “to meet with Chairman Kim,” suggesting that the United States had confirmed in advance that the North Korean leader would meet the U.S. secretary of state.

Pompeo had last traveled to North Korea in early July, where he met with Kim Yong Chol, an aide to Kim Jong Un and the North Korean leader negotiator after the June 12 summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald J. Trump. He did not meet Kim Jong Un during that trip, which ended on poor terms. North Korea accused Pompeo of expressing “gangster-like” demands in a statement after the visit.

Following his meetings in Pyongyang on Sunday, Pompeo promptly continued his ongoing tour of Northeast Asia. He arrived in Seoul, South Korea, in the evening and was scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Following meetings in South Korea, the U.S. secretary of state will end his current tour with a stop in Beijing, which is still digesting a critical speech on China by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

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