Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States stays committed to talks with North Korea but will “reassess” all ties if North Korea leader Kim Jong-un fails to deliver on denuclearization promises that he made to President Donald Trump.
Speaking to CNN in a phone interview on Monday, the top US diplomat said both sides were working together to achieve what Kim and Trump agreed upon during their historic summit on June 12 in Singapore.
“I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo emphasized that future of the talks depended on Pyongyang’s steps towards nuclear disarmament and Washington would “constantly reassess” progress in this regard.
In exchange for Kim’s promise to dismantle his nuclear weapons program, Trump has put on hold joint military drills with South Korea and Japan off the Korean Peninsula.
“The President was clear. Each of the actions we have taken, his decision to suspend the high level war games, it’s only so long as there is a good faith negotiation progress, productive results being achieved,” Pompeo said.
“If we can’t do that, if it turns out that there is no capacity to deliver the outcome that both presidents said they wanted, yeah, we reassess,” he added.
Pompeo claimed that Kim sounded “unequivocal” on denuclearization both during the Trump meeting and before that, when he personally met the North Korean leader as CIA director.
“I heard it myself when I visited there as CIA director, I heard it myself when I visited Pyongyang as Secretary of State and I heard it again where there was a group together with the President and Chairman Kim,” he said.
Pompeo said it was too soon to expect a clear roadmap for ending decades of tensions between the two sides, but they were on the right track.
“So long as that commitment stays in place, the United States is prepared to do exactly what the president said,” the state secretary added.
Despite the new developments, Washington has made it clear that it won’t lift tough economic sanctions against Pyongyang until its complete denuclearization.