Ping-pong diplomacy: North Korea table tennis team heads South

Kwon Geun center weeps with his South Korean relatives as he bids farewell after the Separated Family Reunion Meeting at Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea Oct. 22 2015

President Trump is about to dredge up what the Guardian says was a "low point" in his relationship with Kim Jong Un, but this time around as a wry attempt to suggest "no harm, no foul" to the North Korean leader.

"The "Rocket Man" CD was the subject of discussion during Trump's lunch with Kim", a diplomatic source told the news outlet referring to the historic summit last month.

With last month's summit between Kim and President Donald Trump resulting in only a vague statement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it's now up to Pompeo to hammer out the details in follow-up talks with North Korean officials. Trump said after the Singapore summit that Kim had agreed to send remains back to the United States.

Now, he'll be able to hear the tune, and maybe return the favor with a mix tape. "We both hope that's true", he said.

"Look forward to continuing our work toward the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD) of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)", Pompeo posted on Twitter on his way to Pyongyang.

Officials believed North Korea was "positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration - while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival", NBC News reported.

But the key is whether Pompeo can get Kim to act on his vague denuclearization pledge, agreeing to dismantle a specified amount of nuclear warheads by a given date. Missile engine test sites, including the one at the North's Dongchangni missile center, also appear to be operating normally, Kim said.

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However, the USA department of state said this did not represent any easing on its stance toward denuclearization.

Reuters reported on Thursday that South Korean officials had been offering advice to their US counterparts on how to deal with these issues, with one senior official from Seoul visiting Washington this week and suggesting that the United States move away from its aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" towards a softer approach, according to the news agency. "Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as "rocket man" when tensions ran high past year", the source said.

Hoffman ended by saying negotiations with the Soviet Union under President Reagan took years to play out and the situation with North Korea is still in its early days. He is accompanied by Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines and seasoned nuclear negotiator, Allison Hooker, a National Security Council adviser, Randall Schriver, an assistant secretary of defense for Asia Pacific security affairs, and Andrew Kim, the head of the CIA's Korea Mission Center.

Pompeo will meet with South Korean and Japanese officials after his North Korea trip, according to Yonhap. Trump has even suggested that North Korea could become "very rich" in doing so.

Possession or exposure to Western media of any kind can be punishable by public execution in North Korea, according to a variety of NGO reports and eyewitness accounts from North Korean defectors.

He was met at the Pyongyang airport by Kim Yong Chol, a senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

Pompeo's talk will be closely watched in the region.

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