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China US talks on North Korea get off to frosty start

China US talks on North Korea get off to frosty start

Kim Jong Un wants Pope Francis to visit his country and believes he would be welcomed "enthusiastically", according to South Korean officials.

Kim held an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, and pledged to work toward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The South Korean president hopes the summit will allow a new order to be created throughout the Korean peninsula, eventually leading into Northeast Asia.

Pompeo said he and Kim had gotten "pretty close" to fixing the logistics for the summit but stressed that "sometimes that last inch is hard to close".

Things didn't go much better a day later in Beijing, where Pompeo had the bad fortune of being the first senior USA official to visit the country since a blistering speech on China last week from Pence.

Wang, also a state councillor, accused Washington of escalating the trade conflict, interfering with Taiwan, and levelling false accusations about China's domestic and foreign policies, according to a readout posted on China's foreign ministry website.

It is reportedly the same plane that transported Kim's limousine and personal effects to Singapore for his meeting with President Trump.

Pompeo's meeting in Beijing was the last stop of his Asia trip, meant to revitalise the stalled denuclearisation negotiations with Pyongyang, in particular, amid concerns that worsening Sino-US relations could undermine their cooperation on North Korea.

Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea who accompanied Pompeo to Pyongyang, said he offered to meet his counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, "as soon as possible" and they were in discussion over time and place.

Pompeo told reporters Kim had said he was ready to allow worldwide inspectors into North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility as soon as the two sides agreed on logistics.




Pompeo has repeatedly refused to discuss details of negotiations, including a USA position on North Korea's demand for a declared end to the Korean War and a proposal from Seoul for such a declaration to be accompanied by a shutdown of the North's main known nuclear facility.

Before they turned the page on decades of public acrimony, the leaders regularly traded threats and insults as North Korea pushed to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the United States.

Weakening support for US -led sanctions - from countries including Russian Federation and China, but also South Korea - has also led to a growing sense that Pompeo is spending more and more of his time just trying to keep existing restrictions in place.

But Trump insisted that 'we've made a lot of progress'. "We have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim".

"On the issues that you characterized, we have fundamental disagreements", Pompeo told Wang.

Interested in North Korea?

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walk together before their meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sunday.

Pompeo declined to comment whether there was progress on a shutdown of the Yongbyon site.

But this time, the North Korean reaction to the talks was much more positive.

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