Mike Pompeo’s visit to China kicks off with frosty exchange

Mike Pompeo’s visit to China kicks off with frosty exchange

Meeting at the Diaoyutai Guest House, Wang told Pompeo that the USA had "stepped up rhetoric over trade tensions" after a raft of tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars of United States and Chinese goods. Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June and - at the time - announced that the two countries are set to "start a new history".

A senior State Department official said, despite their differences, the USA still expected China to cooperate on efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

After meeting with Kim in Pyongyang on Sunday, Pompeo told journalists in Seoul that the leader had agreed to open up the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site to inspectors, according to a pool report.

Pompeo also invoked the cancellation of a meeting between US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart, which was supposed to take place this month in Beijing.

The Secretary of State added that South Korea has been an integral part of negotiations aimed at denuclearising North Korea, and he passed along Mr Trump's gratitude for the country's efforts. Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim had "warmly welcomed" Pompeo in Pyongyang and "spoke highly of him".

Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of Russia's Federation Council, revealed on Friday that Moscow and Pyongyang were working to arrange a visit for Kim, while Beijing was reportedly weighing options for a fourth meeting between Xi and Kim.

North Korea denounced Pompeo on his previous trip to Pyongyang in July for making "gangster-like demands".

"On the issues that you characterized, we have fundamental disagreements..."

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"While the U.S. side has constantly escalated trade frictions with China, it has also taken actions regarding Taiwan that harm China's core interests", Wang said.

Kim Jong-un and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had lunch and discussed future relations between the two countries.

Pompeo declined to comment on the status of talks over Yongbyon or the details of negotiations generally, saying "we're not going to talk about where we are in these negotiations, except for things we have agreed to release with the North Koreans".

Such an approach to security is not something new for North Korea.

Pompeo did not have a scheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a fact that a senior U.S. State Department official on the trip said was not odd, even though top U.S. officials often meet Chinese heads of state on visits.

The two countries have, however, been in a standoff over what the term denuclearisation means.

"For Asia, the severity of China-U.S. frictions is taking up much attention and is, to some extent, diluting attention paid to the Korean peninsula issue", it said. A second summit in the coming weeks could boost Trump ahead of US midterm elections in November, but a failure to secure any measurable commitments would undercut what the president has seen so far as a clear foreign policy strength. More recently, however, Abe has expressed interest in a face-to-face meeting with former worldwide pariah Kim. USA officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.

The US diplomat also met with Xi during a similar trip to the region in June. "If that isn't happening, then it's a really interesting question of what even the point of a second summit would be".

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