Pompeo, however, gave a rosier view of two days of recent negotiations with North Korean officials in a statement to reporters following his return to the US on Saturday.
While Pompeo hailed progress from the talks, the results he announced on Saturday will do little to quell unease that North Korea's commitment to denuclearisation, made when President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un in Singapore last month, is a facade and it has no intention of giving up its weapons.
Pompeo had dumped a rescheduled bilateral 2+2 dialogue with India, which was to have seen External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman travel to Washington DC for talks with him and Defense Secretary James Mattis, to rush to North Korea, to follow upon Trump's meeting with Kim. Kim responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well".
Pompeo did not meet with the North Korean leader while he was there, but the State Department said that there was no expectation that he would.
"There are things that I have to clarify as well", said Pompeo.
Unlike his previous visits, which have been one-day affairs during which he has met with Kim Jong Un, Pompeo spent the night at a government guesthouse in Pyongyang and did not see the North Korean leader, although US officials had suggested such a meeting was expected.
"It would be the shortest path toward realization of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to. boldly break away from the failure-ridden methods of the past, push for whole new approaches and seek to resolve problems one by one based on trust and in a phased and synchronous principle", he said.
After talks concluded, Sec.
The spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said Pompeo's discussions with North Korean officials included the repatriation of the remains of Americans who died in the Korean War in the 1950s in addition to denuclearization issues, according to a pool report by reporters accompanying Pompeo.
Earlier rumors during the week stated the State Department's objectives in North Korea had changed and that the Sec. of State may be willing to forgo complete denuclearization. Yet Pompeo himself had earlier said he envisioned that occurring in about two and a half years, by the end of Trump's term, and Nauert later said the United States wasn't putting a timeline on the process.
Last week, Mr Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said North Korea could be expected to carry out the "bulk" of denuclearisation within a year.
According to a pool report from US reporters travelling with him, Pompeo replied: "Director Kim, I slept just fine".
"Of course it is important", Vice Chairman Kim told the U.S. Secretary. Kim replied by calling Trump a "dotard".
'We now have a meeting set up for July 12 - it could move by one day or two - where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains.
Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about talks.
There had been previous signs that all was not well on the diplomatic front during Pompeo's trip, which marked the most most significant engagement between the countries since the Trump-Kim summit on June 12 in Singapore.
"However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting (between the countries) was no doubt regrettable", the spokesman said. He is due to meet officials from allies South Korea and Japan in Tokyo also on Sunday.