SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described his talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday as “productive and wonderful,” state media KCNA said on Monday, striking a positive tone compared with a previous state media stance when talks were stalled.
Kim and Pompeo agreed to arrange a summit between the North Korean leader and U.S. President Donald Trump “as soon as possible,” and discussed potential U.S. monitoring of Pyongyang’s steps toward denuclearization, South Korea’s presidential office said on Sunday.
“Kim Jong Un expressed satisfaction over the productive and wonderful talks with Mike Pompeo at which mutual stands were fully understood and opinions exchanged,” KCNA said.
It added that the two sides agreed on holding working negotiations for the second North Korean-U.S. summit as early as possible.
Commenting on Pompeo’s meeting with Kim, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday that Kim is expected to visit Russia soon, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping is also expected to travel to North Korea, but did not elaborate further.
The country’s state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, featured eight photos of the meeting on its front page, including various shots of Kim and Pompeo smiling and shaking hands — and some with Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong in attendance.
“Together with Mike Pompeo, Kim Jong Un appreciated the positively developing situation on the Korean peninsula, explained in detail the proposals for solving the denuclearization issue and matters of concern of both sides and exchanged constructive opinions,” KCNA said.
In Pompeo’s last trip to Pyongyang in July, North Korea denounced him for making “gangster-like demands.” Pompeo did not meet Kim on that trip.
Kim said he believed the dialogue between the two countries would continue to develop favorably “based on the deep confidence between the two leaders of the two countries,” and expressed gratitude to Trump for making a sincere effort to implement the agreement made at their historic June summit, KCNA said.
Pompeo said on Sunday his latest, fourth trip to Pyongyang was “another step forward” to denuclearization and that he had a “good, productive conversation” with Kim, striking a cautious note by indicating more needed to be done.
Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang followed a stalemate as North Korea resisted Washington’s demands for irreversible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, including a complete inventory of its weapons and facilities.
In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kim had invited inspectors to visit the Punggye-ri nuclear test site to confirm it had been irreversibly dismantled. The statement did not provide further details.
KCNA did not mention that issue.
Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Peter Cooney and Michael Perry