U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading back to North Korea for another round of talks aimed at getting Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons.
"While surely Pompeo and Kim won't be able to create a complete agenda for a second summit, or achieve a massive breakthrough in one meeting, their talks can explore if such a meeting is viable and what both sides might be willing to compromise on", said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.
Pompeo had previously said last month's inter-Korean summit marked a shift in talks between the United States and North Korea "through the process of rapid denuclearisation of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula".
Both Pompeo and Trump spoke about a second North Korean summit in positive terms last week in NY, while attending the United Nations General Assembly.
"I think it shows momentum that he is paying his fourth trip", Nauert told reporters.
"Everybody recognises that there is a ways to go", she said, but added: "We feel confident enough to hop on a plane to continue these negotiations".
"I'm optimistic that we'll come away from that with better understandings, deeper progress, and a plan forward" Pompeo declined to comment on recent negative signals from the North, . including complaints about Washington's apparent reluctance to agree to a declaration to end the Korean War without major concessions.
Washington and Pyongyang have made little progress in their nuclear talks since the first Trump-Kim summit, which drew a backlash for being short on specifics, especially on steps toward denuclearization.
Pompeo, who is trying to arrange a new summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump, will also head to US allies Japan and South Korea, as well as North Korea's chief ally China, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday. North Korea has placed a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, dismantled parts of weapons testing site, and has pushed for an easing of sanctions before it completely relinquishes its nuclear arsenal. But that date was referred to in a September 19 statement in his name on the outcome of summit between the leaders of South and North Korea. The US has said sanctions will remain in place until the denuclearization process is complete.
Pompeo stressed that in the meantime worldwide sanctions would have to remain in place on North Korea. "I think the two sides adjusted their differences on what initial steps North Korea and the United States will each take", said Koh Yu-hwan, a Dongguk University professor.