“This is truly a mission of peace,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference in Singapore on Monday (around 6 a.m. EDT).
Pompeo said verification lies at the heart of any potential agreement with North Korea; and he said President Trump is prepared to ensure Kim Jong Un’s “security” if Kim agrees to end his nuclear program.
“We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future productive talks,” Pompeo said.
In light of how many flimsy agreements the United States has made in previous years, this president will ensure that no potential agreement will fail to adequately address the North Korean threat. The ultimate objective we seek from diplomacy with North Korea has not changed. The complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.
Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programs. If diplomacy does not move in the right direction, and we are hopeful that it will continue to do so, those measures will increase.
President Trump recognizes Chairman Kim’s desire for security and is prepared to ensure that a North Korean free of weapons of mass destruction is also a secure North Korea.
The president has also expressed his openness to expanding access to foreign investment and other economic opportunities for North Korea if they take the right steps. All the preparations with the summit have come together very nicely.
Pompeo said President Trump is going into his meeting with Kim Jong Un “with confidence, a positive attitude and eagerness for real progress.”
“He has made it clear that if Kim Jong Un denuclearizes, there is a brighter future for North Korea. Tomorrow, we will get our clearest indication to date of whether Chairman Kim Jong Un truly shares this vision.”
In response to a question, Pompeo said the U.S. is prepared to give North Korea “sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization isn’t something that ends badly for them.”
Pompeo refused to negotiate through the media. But he did begin the news conference by refuting a New York Times article saying that the U.S. team lacks expertise on dismantling North Korean weapon’s program.
“Any suggestion that the United States lacks the technical expertise across government or lacks it on the ground here in Singapore is mistaken,” he said.
Pompeo also said President Trump is fully prepared for tomorrow’s meeting, which will be “fundamentally different” than any previous U.S. attempts to deal with North Korea:
“The United States has been fooled before. There’s no doubt about it. Many presidents previously have signed off on pieces of paper only to find that the North Koreans either didn’t promise what we thought they had or actually reneged on promises. The ‘V’ matters. The ‘V’ matters.
“We are going to ensure that we set up a system sufficiently robust that we are able to verify these outcomes and it’s only once the V happens that we ‘ll proceed apace. That’s what’s been missed before. You know, we can go back to Reagan — trust but verify. At the end of the day, both countries are going to have to come to have sufficient trust in each other and to do the verification that each country needs.”
Pompeo said the pre-summit talks between the two delegations — one from the U.S. and one from North Korea — are “moving quite rapidly, and we anticipate they will come to their logical conclusion even more quickly than we had anticipated.”
The big meeting takes place Tuesday between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Pompeo said if all goes well, the two leaders will “set the framework for the hard work that will follow.”