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'Tragic to let talks go to waste' - Pompeo

Sky News logo Sky News 01-06-2018
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it would be "tragic to let this opportunity go to waste" as he tries to arrange a US-North Korea summit.

Mr Pompeo told a news conference he was confident talks with North Korean officials were moving in the right direction.

He said a North Korean envoy was travelling to Washington to deliver a "personal letter" from Kim Jong Un to President Donald Trump.

North Korea Vice-Chairman Kim Yong Chol meets with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo © Getty North Korea Vice-Chairman Kim Yong Chol meets with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

President Trump responded by saying: "I look forward to seeing what's in the letter."

Following a meeting with North Korean vice chairman Kim Yong Chol in New York, Mr Pompeo said: "Our two countries face a pivotal moment in our relationship in which it could be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste."

The US Secretary of State warned North Korea had to choose a path "fundamentally different" to the one they had been on for decades.

© getty

Mr Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, one of the North Korean leader's closest aides and the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the US in 18 years.

The Secretary of State said the secretive state was "contemplating a strategic shift" - and that talks to prepare a meeting about denuclearisation were going well.

The meeting was designed to salvage the planned summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim scheduled for June 12.

© getty

An official said the talks lasted just over two hours but had concluded before schedule.

Mr Trump said this morning: "will see what happens," adding "hopefully we will have a meeting on the 12th".

The President cancelled the meeting last week before quickly backtracking, admitting talks could still go ahead.

Mike Pompeo said there had been "substantive talks with the team from NorthKorea." © Other Mike Pompeo said there had been "substantive talks with the team from NorthKorea."

Previously, Washington has demanded that the North agree to a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" end to Pyongyang's nuclear program while Kim Jong Un is seeking international recognition and security guarantees.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov warned either side against making "abrupt movements" in the talks during his visit to Pyongyang.

He said: "We believe it is very important to treat these contacts in a very delicate manner, not to make any abrupt movements, to artificially speed up the process that requires a significant amount of time," according to a transcript released by the Russian foreign ministry.

Related: 7 surprising things you didn't know about North Korea (Business Insider)

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