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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to return to North Korea this weekend after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suggested they continue denuclearization talks, though negative signals from Pyongyang suggest the US State Department may be jumping the gun.

Key highlights

Pompeo will also be making stops in Japan, China, and South Korea, before heading into North Korea for the fourth time in a year, and the State Secretary will be making more face-time with North Korean leaders before a planned-but-not-yet-set second summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, who claimed at a support rally last week that he and Kim “fell in love” after exchanging letters.

North Korea struck a notably more hostile tone while at the UN last week, warning that continued US sanctions are continuing to deepen North Korean ‘mistrust’ of the US, claiming that North Korea has made “significant goodwill measures” with no corresponding actions from the US, and Pompeo is rushing headfirst into another meeting where North Korea is increasingly demanding sanction relief from the US, and the good feelings that Trump is insisting exist between himself and Kim may soon come under strain as the US appears in no rush to remove sanctions from North Korea.

Pompeo had planned to travel to North Korea in August but Trump canceled the trip at the last moment and publicly acknowledged for the first time that his efforts to get Pyongyang to denuclearize had stalled. – Reuters