Kim summit: U.S. diplomats hold 'productive meeting' with North Korean counterparts

Reuters

Reuters

While emphasizing a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, and "a bold new diplomacy", Trump acknowledged "much work remains to be done".

North Korea, meanwhile, has called on the United States to ease global economic sanctions and allow it to receive humanitarian aid from other countries, saying it has already begun to take concrete steps toward denuclearization.

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During the Diet committee session, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he is arranging a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the upcoming U.S. If these follow-up talks do take place, they're expected to draw up a new strategy for the Vietnam summit, based on the Pyeongyang negotiations.

The U.S. leader and top officials have repeatedly stressed the economic benefits for North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons program.

It is not yet known whether Biegun met with Kim, with North Korean media silent on his visit.

In recent months, North Korea has said it would consider a step-by-step approach, pairing actions to denuclearize with incentives, including the removal of economic sanctions crippling its economy.

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In a pair of tweets, Mr Trump said his representatives had just left North Korea after a "productive meeting" about the February 27-28 summit which he revealed would held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Speaking before meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister kang Kyung-wha on Saturday, Biegun said his talks in Pyongyang had been productive, but more dialogue was needed ahead of the summit.

North Korea has been known to parade its missiles through the streets and has aggressively pursued a nuclear program.

While such a declaration wouldn't imply a legally binding peace treaty, experts say it could create political momentum that would make it easier for North Korea to steer the discussions toward a peace regime and security concessions.

The US envoy for North Korea has returned from Pyongyang, where he held talks to prepare for a second US-North Korean leadership summit.

North Korea's economy is considered to be sluggish due largely to the global sanctions, aimed at preventing it from developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

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