Pompeo to head to Pyongyang for weekend talks with North Korean leader


Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since the Singapore summit in June, despite positive momentum stemming from a meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon gave an estimate of between 20 and 60 functional North Korean nuclear bombs to parliament on Monday.

President Donald Trump said last week that he hopes to meet again soon with the North Korean leader.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now scheduled to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday where the men are expected to negotiate another summit between Trump and Kim. "But it's a good first step", said Joel Wit, a senior Fellow at the Stimson Center who was involved in past negotiations with the North Koreans while working at the State Department.

Trump's diplomatic overtures are building the trust that will make North Korea feel comfortable with making concessions and joining the rest of us in the 21st century. North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, told the United Nations last week that "there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".

"They speculate that Pyongyang seems to have concluded that it's too early to let the North Korean people know the progress of its tug-of-war with the USA over denuclearization", Yonhap News speculated. "There's no nuclear testing and there's not testing of rockets".

Trump has nevertheless appeared keen on a second summit with Kim, even though recent North Korean statements have suggested the two sides are far from narrowing their differences.

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During their three-day stay, they will also tour major facilities and attend a mass gymnastics performance.

Even though both sides seemed to be making progress following an announcement that North Korea may be willing to allow global experts to observe the dismantlement of testing sites, Pyongyang and Washington also seemed to entrench their opposing positions during the UNGA. It's unclear whether they will meet Kim before returning home on Saturday.

"Opportunities to engage diplomatically, if they're actually going to be successful, can be warranted, but if there's no sense of progress I should urge the president not to do the meeting", Gardner said.

It will be the fourth trip by Pompeo to the longtime U.S. pariah amid American hopes of reaching an agreement to end North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"We see this as a consistent effort, before, during and after any diplomatic efforts by the United States and the worldwide community, " said Joyce, describing North Korea as being "undeterred" and urging the USA government to provide more specific threat information to financial institutions about APT38's modus operandi.

Those incidents, including the Cheonan sinking, were not North Korea attacks but rather "accidental armed conflicts", according to the South Korean military, JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday.