U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Pyongyang on Sunday for denuclearization talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the State Department said Tuesday.
The trip is intended to lay the groundwork for a second U.S.-North Korea summit that U.S. President Donald Trump said last week would be held "in the not too distant future."
Prior to a visit to Pyongyang, Pompeo will visit Tokyo from Saturday to Sunday for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono, department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a press briefing.
Pompeo will also visit Seoul on Sunday and Monday to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae In and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha, before wrapping up a four-nation Asian tour with a visit to Beijing on Monday, according to Nauert.
"I think it shows forward progress and momentum that the secretary is making his fourth trip back in less than a year," Nauert said.
"Of course we have quite a ways to go but we look forward to the next steps in this conversation," she said, in reference to the U.S. goal of achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.
Pompeo canceled a planned trip to the North Korean capital in late August due to a lack of credible action by Pyongyang, despite Kim pledging to work toward "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in June in Singapore.
Washington and Pyongyang appear to have put stalled denuclearization negotiations back on track after Kim, in a Sept. 18-19 meeting with Moon in Pyongyang, expressed willingness to permanently dismantle the North's main nuclear complex if the United States takes "corresponding measures."
In a meeting in New York last Wednesday, Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho agreed that the chief U.S. diplomat would visit Pyongyang in October to prepare for a second Trump-Kim summit, which Moon said could occur by the end of the year.