Ping-pong diplomacy: North Korea table tennis team heads South

Korean War

The State Department, meanwhile, was mum Friday on the deeper details of Mr. Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang, the secretary of state's first visit with North Korean officials since the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore three weeks ago.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an American delegation met with their North Korean counterparts for almost three hours in Pyongyang Friday, the first face-to-face meeting for the U.S.'s top diplomat after President Trump and Kim Jong Un signed a joint declaration in Singapore last month.

After a almost three-hour meeting with Kim Yong Chol, the pair broke up for dinner, with the USA side saying that talks would continue Saturday morning.

The newspaper explained anonymous diplomatic sources in D.C. told them the two leaders discussed the "Rocket Man" nickname Mr. Trump gave to Mr. Kim, and the North Korean leader said he never heard the song.

At a June 20 rally in Duluth, Minnesota, Trump said, "We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains sent back today, already 200 got sent back".

But the meeting was low on details, with the two sides emphasizing the need to build trust amid growing doubts about North Korea's commitment to "complete denuclearization" after several reports they were moving forward with their nuclear weapons program.

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Pompeo would try to agree on at least an initial list of nuclear sites and an inventory that could be checked against the available intelligence, US intelligence officials told Reuters.

One hoped-for breakthrough would be the return of the remains of US troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about negotiations. Reuters on Wednesday said Trump appears to have "shelved an "all or nothing" approach to North Korean denuclearization".

Four other USA officials said the Hermit Kingdom was purposely trying to mislead the U.S.

The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency added that he expected North Korea to be "ready to do the same".

He was met at the Pyongyang airport by Kim Yong Chol, a senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to begin his third visit since April and first since the June 12 summit.

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Mr Pompeo is therefore under pressure to produce evidence Pyongyang is taking steps towards ending its programme.

The tone was likely reflective of current events on the Korean Peninsula, which is experiencing a rare calm as Kim Il Sung's grandson and current supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, navigates uncharted territory in his direct dealings with a sitting USA president.

"When are they going to hand us that piece of paper?"

A delegation of South Korean basketball players, government officials and journalists arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for friendly basketball games with North Korea in the latest round of sports diplomacy between the two countries. Longer-term, the Koreas have vowed to improve the North's aging railways and roads.

The musical offering came at the behest of President Trump himself.

Pompeo's talk will be closely watched in the region.

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A spokesman for South Korea's presidential office would only say South Korea and the United States were working to formulate "constructive measures" on North Korea's denuclearisation. He is due to meet officials from allies South Korea and Japan in Tokyo also on Sunday.

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