North Korea blasts 'regrettable' USA 'attitude and 'robber-like' demands

It is Mr Pompeo's third trip to Pyongyang

But it may come as a surprise to those who heard President Trump when he said that there was "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea" a day after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first time in Singapore.

The spokesman said that the first high-level talks between the two countries following the summit failed to consolidate mutual trust, only to risk undermining the North's commitment to denuclearization.

According to US media reports, Pompeo did not meet Kim during the visit, unlike his previous trips during which he had met with the DPRK's top leader.

Expectations for the trip grew in recent days with reports indicating that North Korea continued to ramp up its weapons production before the summit with Trump.

On his flight to Pyongyang, Mr Pompeo said both sides made commitments at the Singapore summit on the complete denuclearisation of North Korea and on what a transformed relationship between their two countries might look like. Kim responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well".

Pompeo said North Korea had confirmed it meant to destroy a missile-engine testing facility and the two sides discussed the "modalities" of what that would look like.

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The North's statement said officials had presented Mr. Pompeo with a personal letter to Mr. Trump to convey hopes that the "magnificent relations and feelings of trust" between the two leaders would be reinforced in further talks.

Many experts doubt Kim's sincerity - a nuclear deterrent to the USA military forces massed in South Korea has always been a strategic goal of his isolated, autocratic regime - and few expect this to be a quick process, even if Washington wants results within a year. Mr Pompeo said he "slept just fine".

Washington's top diplomat embarked on an intense day of negotiations with his North Korean counterpart Saturday as he strives to nail down Pyongyang's commitment to nuclear disarmament.

But talks were expected to continue at a large guest villa in an official compound in Pyongyang, a short distance from the imposing mausoleum where North Korea's former helmsmen, Kim's grandfather and father, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state.

"These are complicated issues, but we made progress on nearly all the central issues", he said, according to pool reports from journalists who traveled with the secretary. "(It) will take place at the border and that process will begin to develop over the days that follow", he said as he boarded his plane for Tokyo.

Nauert's confirmation comes after Pompeo was rather coy about the alleged gift when reporters asked him about it upon arriving to North Korea on Friday.

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However, in another twist of approach towards Kim - who Trump once called "Little Rocket Man" - the USA administration renewed its sanctions on North Korea for another year. Suggesting that the United States needed to find a special negotiator to meet continuously with the North Koreans, Wit said that it was "a fantasy to think that this can be done overnight" but that it could be done eventually.

"The North Koreans. understand that President Trump needs a win; he needs to have a good story coming out of his high-risk diplomacy with North Korea going into his delicate and maybe-highly charged negotiations with the Europeans and the Russians next week", she added. "Some places a great deal of progress, other places there's still more work to be done", he said.

KCNA said the North also offered to discuss declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War marking next month's anniversary of the armistice agreement, but the United States side showed little interest, giving "certain conditions and excuses".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha speak with each other after a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2018.

The trip comes at the start of a week of travel for Pompeo, who continues on to Hanoi, Abu Dhabi and Brussels, where he's scheduled to accompany Trump to an annual summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance.

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