Pompeo to travel to DPRK, meeting with Kim for talks

South Korean honour guards with the remains of 64 of the country's soldiers killed in North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. The remains were found during a joint excavation project between the United States and North Korea

The top United States diplomat said his planned visit to Pyongyang on Sunday will be "another chance to continue to advance the commitment" that President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made at their historic summit in Singapore in June.

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.

A top South Korean official told lawmakers that North Korea is estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons, in Seoul's first public comment about the size of the North's secrecy-clouded weapons arsenal.

Many foreign experts say North Korea are likely running additional secret uranium-enrichment plants.

The meeting between Pompeo and Kim may also chart a possible second meeting between the two leaders.

"I think it shows forward progress and momentum that the secretary is making his fourth trip in less than a year", State Department spokesman Heather Nauert told reporters.

Nauert initially announced plans for Pompeo's trip last month after he met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Mr Pompeo, who is trying to arrange for a second summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump, will also be visiting US allies Japan and South Korea, as well as North Korea's chief ally, China, with which the US is engaged in escalating trade disputes.




Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said the comments "really puts a little bit of cold water" on the hope that North Korea might provide a list of its nuclear and missile sites in return for an end-of-war declaration.

The US has insisted on maintaining tight United Nations sanctions against North Korea during the diplomatic drive, while Beijing has said it is time to start easing sanctions.

Rep. Yoon Young-seok, a spokesman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, said in a statement that the two Koreas should reunify under the South's free democratic system and urged North Korea's complete denuclearization.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, third right, and delegation members pose for the media on their arrival at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

On Friday, they will take part in the first-ever joint event to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the 2007 summit held in Pyongyang between then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. It will be Pompeo's fourth visit to North Korea. At a campaign rally on Saturday, Trump seemed to signal he was open to the prospect, when he spoke about the "beautiful letters" he had received from the North Korean leader.

"We have a very good relationship".

"There is nothing the U.S. could get from sanctions and it is no [one] other than them who will be put at disadvantage", the Rodong Sinmun, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party, said in an editorial.

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