As Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang, South Korea quietly watches - and worries

Yonhap  EPA  REX  Shutterstock

Yonhap EPA REX Shutterstock

His mission is to translate the upbeat rhetoric following the first meeting between leaders of the US and North Korea into concrete action that will eliminate the threat posed by Kim's nuclear arsenal.

One diplomatic source in Washington said, "The "Rocket Man" CD was the subject of discussion during Trump's lunch with Kim".

Since meeting Kim in Singapore last month Trump has been bullish about hopes for peace, boasting that the threat of nuclear war is over.

Pompeo is visiting North Korea as part of a follow-up meeting scheduled in the wake of the successful Singapore summit last month.

Now, he'll be able to hear the tune, and maybe return the favor with a mix tape.

As Pompeo sets out to specify what denuclearization means for North Korea, he could push for agreement which allows worldwide inspectors to verify the North Korean suspension of nuclear and missile testing and a broad framework for how North Korea plans to freeze its nuclear program.

Tokyo has said it is ready to normalize ties with and provide economic support to North Korea following a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, according to the sources.

South Korean workers began commuting to the North Korean border town of Kaesong this week to fix a building at a closed factory park where the rivals plan to set up a liaison office.

The agreement signed by Mr. Trump and Kim left out the words "verifiable" and "irreversible" when referencing the denuclearization process. Missile engine test sites, including the one at the North's Dongchangni missile center, also appear to be operating normally, Kim said.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said at the time that it "needs to find out the exact meaning or intention behind [Trump's] comments".

The basketball diplomacy follows agreements to send combined teams to the Asian Games in August and hold temporary reunions of now-aging relatives separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

In that match, North Korea, led by Ri Myong Hun - who, at 235 centimeters (7 feet 8.5 inches) was described as the world's tallest player - routed South Korea 86-57. "I don't think there's any doubt about that". "Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as "Rocket Man" when tensions ran high previous year".

Kim Dae-jung's engagement with North Korea was often a source of discord with the hard-line USA administration of former President George W. Bush, and disagreements between Washington and Seoul continued during Roh's government.

"I'm sure that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year", Bolton said earlier this week on "Face the Nation".

But on June 28, Pompeo told the Senate Appropriations Committee, "We have not yet physically received them". According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPMA), about 7,700 US troops are missing from the Korean War, and about 5,300 of that total are believed to have fallen in North Korea.

Pompeo has the crucial task of dispelling growing skepticism over how seriously Kim is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and working to translate the upbeat rhetoric following the first meeting between leaders of the USA and North Korea into concrete action.

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