US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Pyongyang for a meeting with senior North Korean official Kim Yong-cho to try to breath new life into denuclearisation negotiations given recent reports pointing to continued activity in the country's nuclear facilities.
After meeting with his North Korean counterpart for nearly 3 hours Friday, followed by a lengthy dinner, Pompeo and North Korea's former spy chief, Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol, were at it again Saturday morning.
The statement said that the United States betrayed the spirit of last month's summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by making unilateral demands on "CVID, " or the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.
Mr Kim has promised to work towards denuclearisation, but details on how this will be achieved remain thin.
"President Trump is committed to a brighter future for North Korea".
It is not yet clear whether Pompeo will meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before departing Pyongyang for Tokyo where he is expected to brief his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.More news: EU Parliament rejects opening copyright law update negotiations
On the destruction of the missile engine plant, Pompeo said, "We talked about what the modalities would look like for the destruction of that facility as well, and some progress there as well, and then we have laid out a path for further negotiation at the working level so the two teams can get together and continue these discussions".
He admitted "there's still more work to be done" in other areas.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that the U.S. remains "very firm" in its stance that three basic goals be met: complete denuclearisation of North Korea, security assurances, and the repatriation of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean war.
Kim Yong Chol said earlier that he and Pompeo had had "very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday". "So thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night".
"There are things that I have to clarify as well", said Pompeo.
But following talks on Sunday between US envoy Sung Kim and North Korean counterparts, this "CVID" language appears to have disappeared from the State Department lexicon.More news: Japan's oracle octopus boiled and butchered
The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, citing unnamed Washington sources, said the "Rocket Man" CD was a gift for Kim Jong Un - a reference to Trump's former habit of insultingly referring to the North Korean as "Little Rocket Man".
When asked about the tension between the two, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, "There's a lot of hard work to be done".
Pompeo met for almost three hours Friday with a senior North Korean official in Pyongyang to nail down specifics of commitments on denuclearization made at Trump's summit with Kim. When a reporter asked Pompeo if he brought up satellite images seeming to suggest some nuclear facilities are expanding, the Secretary of State said North Korea and the USA are "equally committed" to denuclearization.
Trump said after the Singapore summit Kim had agreed to send the remains back to the United States, but that still has not taken place.
"The more we meet, the deeper our friendship will be, I hope", he said, adding: "Today's meeting is really meaningful meeting".
Pompeo said "progress" made in Pyongyang, although he did not offer a timeline for denuclearization.More news: Fortnite: This is When Playground Mode is Leaving
Some US officials and experts have said the change in language amounted to a softening in approach.