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Pompeo seeks clarity in denuclearization talks with NKorea

AP  |  Pyongyang 

ended a second day of talks with senior North Korean officials today, with both sides saying they need clarity on the parameters of an agreement to denuclearize the

On his third trip to since April and his first since last month's historic summit between and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was meeting Kim Yong Chol, a senior ruling party

Both men said they needed to "clarify" certain elements of their previous discussions, but provided no detail. left for early Saturday afternoon but it wasn't immediately clear if he met with leader Kim Jong Un, as had been expected.

Unlike his previous visits, which have been one-day affairs, Pompeo spent the night at a government guest house in after a three-hour dinner with Kim Yong Chol, something the North Korean alluded to in comments as they began their talks.

"We did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday," Kim said. "So, thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night." Pompeo, who spoke with Trump, and by secure phone before starting Saturday's session, replied that he "slept just fine."

He added that the was committed to reaching a deal under which would denuclearize and realize economic benefits in return.

Kim later said that "there are things that I have to clarify" to which Pompeo responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well." There was no immediate explanation of what needed to be clarified but the two sides have been struggling to specify what exactly "denuclearization" would entail and how it could be verified to the satisfaction of the

State Department told reporters that the US remains "very firm" in its stance that three basic goals be met: complete denuclearization of North Korea, security assurances, and the repatriation of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean war.

"Our policy hasn't changed," she said when asked why U.S. officials appear in public comments to have backed away from early demands that an agreement must cover "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization." "Our expectation is exactly what the and jointly agreed to in Singapore, and that is the denuclearization of North Korea," Nauert said, adding that "progress" toward that goal had been made. She did not elaborate.

Pompeo and Kim met for nearly three hours Friday and then had dinner amid growing skepticism over how serious is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and translating the upbeat rhetoric following his June 12 summit with Trump into concrete action.

On his flight to Pyongyang, Pompeo said both sides made commitments at the summit on the complete denuclearization of and on what a transformed relationship between their two countries might look like.

"On this trip, I'm seeking to fill in some details on these commitments and continue the momentum toward implementation of what the two leaders promised each other and the world. I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same," Pompeo said, using the initials for North Korea's name.

One hoped-for breakthrough would be the return of the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. committed at the summit to the "immediate repatriation" of remains already identified, but that hasn't happened yet.

Just before Pompeo's arrival, the North's state-run media lobbed a warning shot at over its criticism of the North's human rights record.

The criticism, published on North Korea's government-run Uriminzokkiri website, said should stop provoking the North with an "anachronistic human rights racket" at a time of diplomatic attempts to improve ties.

On Saturday, Pyongyang's official Korean Agency reported that Pompeo was in the country for talks but did not describe their nature.

North Korea is Pompeo's first stop on his first around-the-world trip as America's top He will then travel to Japan, and the before heading to Belgium, where he will accompany Trump at the NATO summit in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, July 07 2018. 14:20 IST