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Another step forward?

Another step forward?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in what he called a "good, productive conversation." Pompeo met with Kim in Pyongyang for two hours before he flew to South Korea for a two-day visit. Pompeo appeared alongside President Moon Jae-in, who, reportedly, said the world wanted to know the results of the Pyongyang meeting. "I don't have much to add," Pompeo replied. "I will surely tell you in private about our conversation. I thought we had a good, productive conversation, and as President Trump has said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today, another step forward." He added that South Korea has been an integral part of negotiations aimed at denuclearising North Korea, and he passed along Trump's gratitude for the country's efforts. State Department has informed that "Chairman Kim invited inspectors to visit the Punggye Ri nuclear test site to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled." The statement said the two leaders "discussed the upcoming second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim and refined options for the location and date of that next summit." Moon said he hoped that Pompeo's visit and a second US-North Korea summit would provide a chance to take "a decisive step forward in the denuclearisation and peace process on the Korean Peninsula." In Tokyo on Saturday, Pompeo promised he would bring up Japan's concerns about North Korea's alleged abductions of Japanese citizens and its nuclear ambitions. A report in 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded that hundreds of South Koreans, Japanese and other foreign nationals were kidnapped by North Korea after the end of the Korean War in 1953. Pompeo said he wanted "a fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful in denuclearising North Korea." Earlier, after their Pyonyang meeting, Kim had said, "It's a very nice day that promises a good future" for both countries. Since Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June, US-North Korea relations have stalled. Trump cancelled Pompeo's planned trip to Pyongyang in August, citing little evidence that North Korea had followed through on any of its commitments to denuclearise. Speaking en route to Japan, it was significant that Pompeo said the plan was to "develop options for both location and timing" for a second summit, although he doubted they would "get it nailed" down mostly due to scheduling and logistics issues. Therein hangs the proverbial tale. Much depends on the temperamental North Korean leader and his "convenience". Interestingly, his U.S.counterpart is just as temperamental. Pompeo, at best, can only carry out orders. Everything really depends on the two leaders.

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