Tension on display as US delegation meets with North Korea for second day

Tension on display as US delegation meets with North Korea for second day

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After a cordial and relaxed first meeting on Friday night, a little more tension was on display Saturday morning as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met again with North Korean leaders on a trip to Pyongyang meant to hammer out details from President Donald Trump’s summit last month.

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, dictator Kim Jong Un’s top adviser and North Korea’s former spy chief, exchanged pleasantries before the second meeting between the two countries. Pompeo didn’t seem all too pleased with Kim’s forwardness, however.

Kim asked Pompeo if had slept well, to which Pompeo said he had.

“We did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday,” Kim said, through a translator. “So thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night.”

Pompeo actually corrected him to say that he did sleep well: “Director Kim, I slept just fine.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from right, greets Kim Yong Chol, second from left, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, as they arrive for a meeting at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North KoThe Associated Press
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from right, greets Kim Yong Chol, second from left, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, as they arrive for a meeting at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North Ko

(MORE: Pompeo, North Koreans talk trust in first meetings since Singapore summit)

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Kim said he heard Pompeo was “quite pleased” with the two sides’ first meeting, but dropped a warning that “there are things that I have to clarify.”

Pompeo responded in kind, “There are things that I have to clarify as well.”

When asked about the tension between the two, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “There’s a lot of hard work to be done. We never thought it was going to be easy.”

Nauert told reporters that the two sides spoke during a dinner following their two hour and 45 minute meeting Friday night and they were “cracking jokes” and “exchanging pleasantries.”

The motorcade carrying U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drives towards Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 6, 2018. Pompeo is on a trip traveling to North Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels.AP
The motorcade carrying U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drives towards Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 6, 2018. Pompeo is on a trip traveling to North Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels.

(MORE: State Dept dismisses doubts ahead of Pompeo trip to North Korea)

(MORE: US delegation met with North Korea to discuss next steps in denuclearization)

She wouldn’t characterize Friday’s discussions beyond saying they addressed denuclearization and the repatriation of American remains, saying, “We expect them to live up to their commitments.”

She stressed that U.S. policy hasn’t changed, but did not explain why they’re not using the phrase “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” — a phrase Pompeo himself used leading up to the historic summit between Kim Jong Un and Trump in Singapore on June 12.

Nauert said “progress was made” in the meetings Saturday morning, and Pompeo was expected to have more meetings in the afternoon.

Every element of the Singapore agreement was covered in the meetings, from security assurances to reparations, Nauert said.

ABC News’ Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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