Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Monday the historic meeting to take place between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “truly a mission of peace.”
He reiterated that the goal of the summit remains the same: “the complete, and verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The meeting is set to take place Tuesday morning (Monday evening Washington time), when the leaders will talk one-on-one.
"North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearize, and we are eager to see if those words prove sincere," Pompeo said. "The fact that our two leaders are sitting down face to face is a sign of the enormous potential to accomplish something that will immensely benefit both of our peoples and the entire world."
Pompeo added the U.S. is "hopeful" the summit will "set the conditions for future productive talks."
But North Korea’s complete denuclearization is “the only outcome that the United States will accept,” Pompeo said, and sanctions will not be lifted until that happens.
Many analysts have suggested that the discussion about denuclearization means very different things to North Koreans than it does to American officials. That is, experts suggest Pyongyang may only agree to give up its nukes in exchange for the U.S. terminating its military presence in South Korea and ending its regional nuclear umbrella, a security arrangement in which Washington promises in-kind retaliation on behalf of close allies if they are attacked with nuclear weapons.
Pompeo appeared to address that sort of North Korean concern on Monday, saying "President Trump recognizes Chairman Kim's desire for security and is prepared to ensure a North Korea free of weapons of mass destruction is also a secure North Korea."
Responding to a reporter's question on the subject, the secretary of state added that the U.S. is "prepared to take actions that will provide [North Korea] sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization isn't something that ends badly for them." (CNBC)
Commenting on his upcoming meeting with the North Korean dictator, President Trump said he will know very quickly whether the summit is going to be fruitful.
“You know they say you know if you like somebody in the first five seconds? ... I think that very quickly I’ll know whether or not something good is going to happen,” Trump predicted Saturday.
“I also think I’ll know whether or not it will happen fast ... it may not.”