The US State Department said in a press release on Friday that US and North Korean officials held a productive working level meeting after talks between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol.
"The Secretary [Pompeo], Special Representative [Stephen] Biegun, and Vice Chairman Kim discussed efforts to make progress on the commitments President [Donald] Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore," the release said on Friday after the meeting in Washington. "At the conclusion of the Secretary’s meeting with Vice Chairman Kim, the two sides held a productive first meeting at the working level", the release said.
Trump has been considering a second summit with Kim Jong Un to speed up denuclearization. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday that Trump will hold his second summit with Kim "near the end of February".
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has improved since the beginning of last year. During this time, North Korean leader and South Korean President Moon Jae In have held several meetings, while Kim even had a summit with Trump in Singapore. This meeting yielded an agreement stipulating that Pyongyang would make efforts to promote the complete denuclearization of the peninsula in exchange for the United States and South Korea freezing their military drills, as well as the potential removal of US sanctions.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday during the rollout of the 2019 Missile Defense Review that the missile capabilities of North Korea "remain a significant concern".
In December, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that the North Korean military had tested telemetry equipment used for tracking launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. The outlet said that the telemetry tests are an integral part of North Korea's nuclear program development.
Pyongyang reportedly conducted its latest missile launch in November 2017. Last year, Kim announced that the country would suspend its ICBM launches and missile tests ahead of the summits with Moon and Trump.