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Pompeo signals 'progress' as North Korea pans talks

Saturday - 07/07/2018 10:56
Although he met Friday with Kim Yong Chol, the vice chairman of the country's Party Central Committee, Pompeo did not meet with Kim on his trip to Pyongyang.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the North Korean official Kim Yong-chol on Saturday in Pyongyang.CreditPool photo by Andrew Harnik
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the North Korean official Kim Yong-chol on Saturday in Pyongyang.CreditPool photo by Andrew Harnik

(CNN) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang on Saturday seemingly optimistic after two days of high-level talks, but without announcing any concrete steps North Korea would take or a timeline towards denuclearization. 

North Korea, however, poured cold water on the talks, saying the "attitude" of the US was "regrettable" and not in the spirit of the June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We had many hours of productive conversations," Pompeo told reporters Saturday in Pyongyang before boarding a flight to Tokyo. "These are complicated issues, but we've made progress on almost all the central issues. Some places, a great deal of progress. Other places, there's still more work to be done," 

North Korea felt the outcome of the discussion was "worrisome" and argued that the "cancerous issues" the US delegation raised were the same ones that had "amplified" distrust and the risk of war with past administrations and caused previous talks to end in failure.
"We expected the US to bring constructive measures to build confidence in accordance with the spirit of the US-NK Summit," the statement carried by state-run news agency KCNA said. "However, the attitude of the US in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable."

On Saturday, Pompeo gave assurances that North Korea is still committed to dismantling their nuclear program despite satellite images analyzed by researchers in the United States as infrastructure improvements to a nuclear facility and the finalizing of a ballistic missile manufacturing site.

When asked about the satellite images possibly showing nuclear site expansions, Pompeo said, "‎We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it's the case we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to, which was the complete denuclearization of North Korea." 

He added, "No one walked away from that, they're still equally committed, Chairman Kim is still committed."
Pompeo also said he discussed the destruction of a missile test site that Trump said was already being dismantled.

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