Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Mike Pompeo’s visit to China kicks off with frosty exchange

Mike Pompeo’s visit to China kicks off with frosty exchange

"Kim Jong Un inviting the Pope to Pyongyang is a bold and unexpected move", Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. State Department official who worked on North Korean issues, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

The Pope has in the past supported dialogue between the two Koreas and the historic summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump, which took place in Singapore on June 12. The North Korean leader said progress is being made in implementing the goals of the first summit, and he "expressed his gratitude to President Trump for making honest effort to this end", KCNA said.

Kim did not provide further details regarding any plans for the North Korean leader to formally invite to the Pope to North Korea.

The two sides agreed to set up "working-level" negotiating teams to finalize the date and time for a summit, as well as set the stage for a successful summit meeting, he said.

"I like him, he likes me, the relationship is good", Trump said of Kim.

The two countries have, however, been in a standoff over what the term denuclearisation means.

Pompeo also said ties between Japan and the United States were strong and the two countries were in a position to make progress on trade talks.

Since the denuclearization effort got underway with a secret visit to the North by then-CIA chief Pompeo in April, there has been only limited progress, even since the June 12 Trump-Kim summit that many had hoped would jump-start the effort.

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Pompeo told reporters Kim had said he was ready to allow global inspectors into North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility as soon as the two sides agreed on logistics.

It comes nearly two decades after a similar invitation was extended to Pope John Paul II, although a visit never came to pass after a request for Catholic priests to be accepted in North Korea was denied.

Wang said the United States has been escalating trade tensions between the two sides and dealt with Taiwan in a way China finds objectionable.

North Korea's vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui met with officials in Beijing on Saturday and is due to hold talks with Russian counterparts in Moscow followed by a trilateral meeting with China and Russia. "We made significant progress".

"It's a very nice day that promises a good future", Kim said, "for both countries". "But it is wholly in keeping with North Korea's desire to maintain the upper hand in the global public narrative, shaping a discourse where it is the driver of peace".

After spending about five hours in Beijing, Pompeo headed for the airport to return to Washington.

Also on Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he expects Kim to travel to Russian Federation and for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit North Korea soon amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear crisis.

The Beijing stop could be tense as it comes days after Vice President Mike Pence delivered a blistering speech accusing China of military aggression, commercial theft, rising human rights violations and electoral intervention against Trump. On their soil also, ' Trump said.

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