TOKYO — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had “productive talks” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday, with the pair reportedly agreeing to hold a summit between Kim and President Trump as soon as possible.


Pompeo and Kim met for about two hours and then had a 90-minute lunch together. South Korea later said the two men agreed to a second Kim-Trump summit “at the earliest possible date.”

The secretary of state’s last trip to North Korea, in July, did not go so well. He came away from it saying the two sides had made progress, only for North Korea to denounce him for making “gangsterlike” demands and raising “cancerous” issues. On that occasion, he did not meet Kim.

Pompeo then planned to return in late August, only for Trump to cancel the trip at the last minute as it became apparent that the two sides remained far apart on their approach to the negotiations.

But a summit of the leaders of North and South Korea last month has helped to rekindle the peace process, as has the apparent desire of both Kim and Trump to meet again.

An official accompanying the delegation who declined to be named said the trip had gone “better than the last time” but added that it is going to be a “long haul,” according to a pool report from the lone U.S. journalist who accompanied Pompeo to Pyongyang.

Later Sunday, Pompeo flew to Seoul, where he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

During his private meeting with Moon, Pompeo said he and Kim had agreed to arrange the second U.S.-North Korea summit “at the earliest possible date,” according to a statement issued by Moon’s chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan.

At the heart of the impasse has been two fundamentally different approaches to denuclearization.

Pompeo has insisted that sanctions on North Korea should remain in place until the country completely dismantles its nuclear program.

The governments of both North and South Korea, however, say that is unrealistic. Instead, they want both sides to take a “phased” approach, in which Pyongyang is rewarded as it takes gradual steps to roll back its nuclear program.

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