Kim Jong-un to visit Russia: South Korean envoy

North Korea Slams'Preposterous US Report On Pervasive Sexual Violence

Mr Pompeo's announcement comes just a day after North Korea's foreign ministry said the North will "seriously" consider reviving its nuclear weapons program unless USA sanctions are lifted.

In Washington last week, South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said a decision would be made together with the U.S.by December on major joint military exercises for next year.

The United States has said it would maintain the sanctions against North Korea until it has reached "final, fully verified denuclearization", although Pyongyang has described the demands as "gangster-like".

Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, Pompeo said he expected to the discussions to make "real progress" and lay the groundwork for "substantial steps towards denuclearization" at a planned second Trump-Kim summit.

As the United States and North Korea prepare for another round of high-level talks this week, Pyongyang's increasingly heated rhetoric has analysts anxious that the stalemate between the two sides could lead to a breakdown in negotiations.

Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, who visited Pyongyang to celebrate North Korea's 70th founding anniversary in September, said Kim's Russian visit could come within this year.

Crashed Lion Air jet had air speed indicator glitch on fatal flight
Investigators have also revealed that the Lion Air 737 was intact when it hit the water with the engines running at high speed. Black box data recovered from the crashed Lion Air jet showed the plane had an airspeed indicator problem on its four flights.

"The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible", said the foreign ministry statement, released under the name of the director of the foreign ministry's Institute for American Studies. Over the weekend, Kim hosted President Miguel Diaz-Canel of Cuba - another country under United States sanctions - during a lavish visit in Pyongyang, where the two leaders vowed to boost their cooperation. Vigilant Ace, suspended earlier this month, is one of several such exercises that have been halted to encourage dialogue with Pyongyang.

South Korea suspended the tour program in 2008 following the fatal shooting of a South Korean female tourist near the resort, stripping the North of a key source of much-needed hard currency.

American officials have remained sceptical of Kim's commitment to giving up his nuclear arsenal, however, and Washington says it will not support easing worldwide sanctions until more verified progress is made.

"A lot of work remains, but I'm confident that we will keep the economic pressure in place until such time as Chairman Kim fulfills the commitment he made to President Trump back in June in Singapore", Pompeo said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's continuing efforts to engage with North Korea have fanned USA concerns that Seoul could weaken pressure on North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

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