Kim, Pompeo agree to 2nd US-North Korea summit 'at earliest date'

Kim, Pompeo agree to 2nd US-North Korea summit 'at earliest date'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during joint news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 19, 2018. -China relations caused by recent trade and political disputes.

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

In a more upbeat note, Pyongyang's state media said on Monday Kim lauded his talks with Pompeo, where Kim "explained in detail the proposals for solving the denuclearization issue".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of fundamental differences. Chairman Kim said he's ready to allow them to come in.

China and the United States are at odds over trade and Beijing's militarization of islands it claims in the South China Sea.

Denuclearisation of North Korea is "a long process", Pompeo said, adding: "We made significant progress".

Pyongyang was previously home to a vibrant Christian community, earning it the nickname "Jerusalem of the east" before the founding of North Korea.

North Korea's reported overture comes a few weeks after the Vatican signed a landmark deal with Communist China, North Korea's closest ally, over bishop nominations, aimed at ending decades of tensions that contributed to dividing the Chinese church and hampered efforts at improving relations between China and the Vatican. USA officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.

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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.

North Korea's state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, featured eight photos of the meeting on its front page, including shots of Kim and Pompeo smiling and shaking hands, as well as some with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong.

KCNA said "there was an agreement on the issue of holding the working negotiation for the second DPRK-U.S. summit talks as early as possible, and relevant procedure-related issues and ways were also discussed".

Kim's push for greater global recognition is also aimed at softening his image and weakening the US-led "maximum pressure" campaign.

During Pompeo's meeting in Pyongyang, Kim also invited inspectors to visit the Punggye-ri nuclear test site to "confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled", the State Department said.

Speaking to reporters en route to Japan, Mr 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. On that occasion, he did not meet with Kim. "But if you look at the approach, we are in lockstep with each of those two countries in terms of how we approach achieving the results that everyone is aimed at".

But Biegun never got to meet his likely North Korean counterpart, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui.

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