New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday he senses North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “serious” about the upcoming talks with the United States over its denuclearization.
He met with Kim in his secret visit to Pyongyang from March 30-April 1 to prepare for a summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in May or early June.
“I did get a sense that he was serious,” he was quoted as saying in a news conference in Brussels, when asked if he thinks Kim is serious about denuclearization.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Yonhap)
He made the remarks hours after the leaders of the two Koreas agreed in a summit to seek “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula and work toward a formal end of the Korean War within this year.
Pompeo praised it as a “historic meeting” and credited Trump‘s maximum pressure for Pyongyang coming to talks.
“Let there be no doubt, we would not be where we are today without President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign and the work that has been done all around the world to apply pressure to North Korea,” Pompeo said.
He reaffirmed the U.S. stance that it would seek a complete removal of the North‘s nuclear programs and will not repeat the past failures in negotiating with the North.
“We are committed to achieving permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs without delay,” he said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a historic summit south of the Military Demarcation Line at the truce village of Panmunjom on Friday after years of heightened military tensions.
Codifying the denuclearization phrase in the so-called Panmunjom Declaration was hailed as a key achievement from the third cross-border summit, but skeptics pointed to the absence of detailed procedures to achieve the goal.
The two leaders also agreed the two countries will halt all hostile acts against each other, enhance high-level communication and hold the reunions of separated families on the occasion of the Aug. 15 Liberation Day. (Yonhap)