Pompeo says US ready to provide N Korea with assurances if it denuclearizes
Washington, May 12 : The United States and its international partners are ready to provide North Korea with assurances if its leader Kim Jong-un is prepared to fully denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, a top American diplomat said today.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who returned from North Korea a day earlier after meeting with Kim, said he had a "good conversation" with the North Korean leader.
Talking to reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the US State Department, he said Donald Trump and the world have set the "conditions" for a successful outcome from the June 12 summit between the US President and Kim in Singapore.
Responding to a question about Kim's personality, Pompeo said, "You asked about my conversations with Chairman Kim. This question is sort of undignified. 'Is he rational'? Yes, we had good conversations, substantive conversations, conversations that involve deep, complex problems, challenges the strategic decision that Chairman Kim has before him about how it is he wishes to proceed and if he is prepared in exchange for the assurances that we're ready to provide to him if he is prepared to fully denuclearise. And I'm not sure how to define it fully."
He said the US wants to ensure that its efforts yield the end result, that North Korea should not become a threat to the world.
"It's pretty clear what that means. It would be an activity that undertook to ensure that we didn't end up in the same place that we'd ended up before, or multiple passes at trying to solve this conundrum for the world, how to ensure that North Korea doesn't possess the capacity to threaten not only the US but the world with nuclear weapons," Pompeo said.
"So, in order to achieve that, it will require a robust verification programme and one that we will undertake with partners around the world, which will achieve that outcome in a way that frankly no agreement before it has ever set forth. A big undertaking for sure, but one that Chairman Kim and I had the opportunity to have a good, sound discussion on so that I think we have a pretty good understanding between our two countries about what the shared objectives are," he said.
Pompeo said he had a "good" conversation with North Koreans and did his best to convey the US message to them.
"We were each representing our two countries, trying our best to make sure that we were communicating clearly, that we had a shared understanding about what our mutual objectives were. We had good conversations about the histories of our two nations, the challenges that we've had between us," he said.
"We talked about the fact that America has often in history had adversaries who we are now close partners with, and our hope that we could achieve the same with respect to North Korea," Pompeo added.
He was joined by his visiting South Korea counterpart Kang Kyung-wha.
The US and North Korea, Kang said, are "very clear" that the sanctions remain in place until and unless they see visible, meaningful action taken by North Korea to denuclearise.
"The North Korean leader has committed to denuclearisation, and formally so through the Panmunjom Declaration. We very much hope to see further steps, more concrete steps towards denuclearisation being produced at the US-North Korea summit. So we're not talking about sanctions relief at this point," he said.
‘Release of US prisoners has set conditions for a successful Trump-Kim meeting’
Washington, May 12 : Release of three American nationals by North Korea early this week has set the conditions for a successful US-North Korea summit in Singapore next month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today.
"The release of these three citizens helps set the conditions for a successful meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim. We look forward to our continued preparations with the DPRK to make the summit in Singapore on June 12 a true success for the American and Korean people and for the world," he told reporters.
DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is commonly known as North Korea.
At the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the US State Department, Pompeo held an extensive discussion with his South Korea counterpart Kang Kyung-wha on the preparations for the June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim. They also talked about Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang and the meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea last month.
"The US is encouraged by President Moon and Chairman Kim's stated goal of complete denuclearisation in the Panmunjom declaration," Pompeo said, adding that "Foreign Minister Kang and I discussed the summit, my trip to North Korea, and the bold step President Trump is about to take when he meets with Chairman Kim."
"If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearise, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends. The United States looks forward to continued close cooperation with our South Korean allies on this issue and many others," he told reporters at a joint news conference with Kang.
Congratulating Pompeo and Trump for the successful release of the three US citizens, all Korean-Americans, from North Korea, Kang said this was a "promising" signal for the upcoming US-North Korea summit.
"We agreed that the summit would be a historic opportunity for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and securing enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula. We reaffirmed that our goal is to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula," he said.
At the White House, presidential spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump is going into the summit "with eyes wide open" as he said had many times, and "we'll see" what happens.
"But this is certainly a process that has moved in the right direction. We've seen some signs of goodwill from North Korea just this week, with the three Americans brought back home; also the stopping of the ballistic missiles tests; them stopping with their research and development on their nuclear program. And we're going to continue to push for complete and total denuclearisation. We're also going to continue maximum pressure until we see that happen," she said.
As of now, Sanders said, there was no plan for the South Koreans to be present at the Singapore summit. The South Korean President is slated to come to the White House for a meeting with Trump on May 22.
This, Kang said, would prepare for the June 12 summit. "Pompeo and I agreed the next few weeks will be critical, requiring air-tight coordination between our two countries," he added.
"The close communication and trust between presidents Trump and Moon have been the driving force that has brought us to this point of breakthrough for the denuclearisation and peace on the Korean Peninsula. So their meeting on the 22nd will be instrumental in preparing for a successful US-North Korea summit," he said.