US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met North Korean officials in Pyongyang, hoping to "fill in" details on how to dismantle the North's nuclear programme and recover the remains of US troops missing from the Korean War.
Donald Trump has signed and gifted an Elton John CD to Kim Jong-un amid denuclearisation talks, in a joking reference to earlier feuds between the two leaders in which the USA president branded the dictator as a "little rocket man".
After a almost three-hour meeting with Kim Yong Chol, the pair broke up for dinner, with the USA side saying that talks would continue Saturday morning.
Pompeo will leave Pyongyang Saturday and head for Tokyo, where he will meet with Korean and Japanese foreign ministers to share the outcome of his meetings in the North.
Trump reportedly wrote a message on the CD and signed it.
At one of the lowest points in US-North Korean relations since Trump took office, the US president frequently called Kim "little rocket man" in Trump's speeches and tweets in 2017. He said, "If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!".
Trump and Kim's historic summit produced a handshake and a signed agreement between the two countries but offered little specifics for how the North would go along with the "complete denuclearization" goal the usa has set.
Pompeo is expected to discuss the return of the remains of US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.
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According to a diplomatic source who spoke with Chosunilbo, the "Rocket Man" CD stems from a conversation Trump and Kim had during their denuclearization summit last month.
Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about negotiations. Hur, a former guard whose two sons are among the players who travelled to the North, talked about his friendship with retired North Korean player Ri Myong Hun, a 2.35-metre centre who anchored the country's national team during the 1990s and early 2000s.
He said relations between the US and North Korea have "dramatically shifted" in North Korea's favor over the past few months. "I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same", Pompeo said, using the acronym for North Korea's official name.
Although the talks have yielded nothing so far, Trump has spent the weeks since his summit celebrating it as a major success: "We signed a wonderful paper saying they're going to denuclearize their whole thing".
Over the past quarter-century, North Korea has frustrated or outfoxed USA administrations that have attempted to stop and reverse its weapons development through diplomacy and sanctions.
A marching band performs during a South and North Korean friendly basketball game in Pyongyang, 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 United States and North Korea into concrete action.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards a plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Thursday.