From the moment U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday, North Korean officials made clear who was in control and how little space the top U.S. diplomat would have in setting the terms of the discussion that would follow.

Pompeo was greeted on the airport tarmac by senior official Kim Yong Chol, who told him that only three people could join him in the meeting that he'd come for with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim Yong Chol also made clear that Pompeo's preferred translator wouldn't be allowed, and his bodyguard would have to leave his weapon behind, according to a pool reporter traveling with the U.S. envoy.

"We will make — we will figure it out and make it work," Pompeo told his greeter. He tried to shrug off the restrictions on his bodyguard, calling him a "big guy" and laughing.