Pompeo backs away from North Korea denuclearisation timeline

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading back to North Korea for another round of talks aimed at getting Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea, Sunday, fueling optimism for progress in the stalled nuclear talks between the two countries.

While in Asia, Pompeo will also visit Japan, South Korea and China, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will accompany Pompeo to Pyongyang on Biegun's first visit to the country since assuming the post in August.

Both Pompeo and Trump spoke about a second North Korean summit in positive terms last week in NY, while attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Washington and Pyongyang have made little progress in their nuclear talks since the first Trump-Kim summit, which drew a backlash for being short on specifics, especially on steps toward denuclearization.

"Of course, we have quite a ways to go but we look forward to the next steps in this conversation".

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A commentary on North Korea's official KCNA news agency this week, however, said the declaration should have been resolved half a century ago and it could never be a bargaining chip to persuade it to denuclearize.

The stalled denuclearization talks were put back on track after North Korea offered to dismantle its major nuclear complex in Yongbyon if the United States took corresponding measures at the inter-Korean summit last month.

"I'm very happy to be going back to get another chance to continue to advance the commitment that Chairman Kim and President Trump made back in Singapore in the second week of June", Pompeo told a news briefing at the State Department.

Pompeo stressed that in the meantime worldwide sanctions would have to remain in place on North Korea.

Referring to a previous verification effort in 2008, Kang said that demanding an inventory of North Korea's nuclear assets risks, at this stage, derailing the process.

On Saturday, Trump lavished praise on Kim and said they had fallen "in love" after exchanging letters. He said there was unanimous support for this at last week's U.N. General Assembly, even if Russian Federation and China "had some ideas about how we might begin to think about a time when it would be appropriate to reduce them".

"On the negotiating table will be North Korea's plan to dismantle the Yongbyon facilities allowing outside inspectors, and the US' agreement to declare an end to the Korean War and partial sanctions relief", he said. "I think the two sides adjusted their differences on what initial steps North Korea and the U.S. will each take", said Koh Yu-hwan, a Dongguk University professor.

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