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Mon, July 22

Pompeo cites progress made on North Korea trip

SEOUL, South Korea — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made unspecified progress Sunday toward an agreement for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though there was no immediate indication whether Pompeo had managed to arrange a much-anticipated second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.

Trump, tweeting from Washington, cited progress on agreements he made with Kim at their June meeting in Singapore and said, “I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim again, in the near future.”

North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA said Kim had “expressed his will and conviction that a great progress would surely be made in solving the issues of utmost concern of the world and in attaining the goal set forth at the last talks with the projected second DPRK-U.S. summit talks as an occasion.” DPRK is the acronym for the country’s official name: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In an early Monday dispatch, the Korean Central News Agency called the talks “productive and wonderful” and said that “mutual stands were fully understood and opinions exchanged.”

Arriving in Seoul after several hours in Pyongyang on his fourth visit to North Korea, Pompeo said Sunday he had a “good trip” and that he and Kim “continue to make progress on agreements made at the Singapore summit.”

The top U.S. diplomat offered no details, and upon landing in South Korea, he briefed White House national security adviser John Bolton and Trump chief of staff John Kelly on his trip, officials said.

Pompeo, on the third stop of a four-leg Asian tour that began in Japan and was to end in China on Monday, then met South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in. Moon, who has met twice with Kim, asked Pompeo to make public as much information as he could about the trip.

“I dearly hope that your latest visit, as well as the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit, which I hope will be happening soon, will make an irreversible, decisive progress in terms of the denuclearization as well as the peace process,” Moon said. “Since we have the media present here, I would like to ask you to disclose anything that you can open to the public here.”

Pompeo declined that opportunity.

“I will certainly tell you in private about our conversation, but we had a good, productive conversation,” Pompeo said.

“As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way and we took one of them today. It was another step forward. So this is, I think, a good outcome for all of us.”

Moon’s office said in a statement later that Pompeo told Moon that the North Korean leader had agreed a second summit with Trump “should be held as soon as possible,” and that talks on the timing and location would continue.

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