North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his desire to denuclearise the Korean peninsula remained “unchanged, consistent and fixed”, according to state media, hours after America’s top diplomat urged Pyongyang to seize an historic opportunity to shutter its nuclear programme.

As American and North Korean leadership work to arrange a meeting between Mr Kim and Donald Trump next month, the North Korean leader announce that his country would hold a bilateral summit with Russia. He made the pledge while meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.


The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, left, and President Xi Jinping of China this month in Dalian, China, where the two seemed more friendly than in a previous meeting. Credit Korean Central News Agency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In a whiplashing week of diplomatic manoeuvring, Mr Trump declared the meeting with Mr Kim off before reversing and saying his administration was working with Pyongyang to hold the summit as planned.

Even as Mr Trump and administration officials projected confidence that the meeting would proceed, Mr Kim used his meeting with Mr Lavrov to both underscore his commitment to a nuclear deal and to chastise the US.

The North Korean leader reportedly bemoaned “US hegemonism” to Mr Lavrov. Pyongyang has long denounced what it calls America’s imperialistic aggression, warning that joint military exercises with South Korean troops are rehearsals for an invasion.

But Mr Kim also reiterated his willingness to wind down North Korea’s nuclear programme, a condition he backed in proposing the extraordinary meeting to Mr Trump.

Earlier in the day, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo emerged from talks with a leading North Korean official to say the regime had a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to relinquish its pursuit of nuclear arms as a means to safeguard its power.



North Korea has long seen a nuclear arsenal as “providing the security it needed for the regime”, Mr Pompeo said, but he hoped to convince his counterpart that “the real threat to their security is the continued holding onto that nuclear weapons programme, and not the converse”.

“I believe they are contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before”, Mr Pompeo said.