Pompeo: U.S. Wants ‘Major Disarmament’ of North Korea During Trump’s Term

Secretary of state says president told Kim military exercises would resume if talks stall

At an unprecedented summit in Singapore, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un displayed friendliness, but talks offered few specifics on denuclearization. WSJ Eun-Young Jeong reports from the city-state.


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, walks with U.S. General Vincent K. Brooks, left, commander of United States Forces Korea, upon his arrival at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek Wednesday, June 13, 2018. South Korea’s presidential office said Pompeo will meet President Moon Jae-in Thursday morning to discuss the meeting, which made history as the first between sitting leaders of the U.S. and North Korea. (Jung Yeon-je/Pool Photo via AP) (Associated Press)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the U.S. hopes to achieve “major disarmament” of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during President Donald Trump’s first term in office and would resume joint military exercises with South Korea if the talks stall.

“We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the 2 1/2 years,” he told reporters.

Mr. Pompeo, who arrived in Seoul to confer with senior South Korean and Japanese officials, also bristled at criticism that the summit declaration signed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim was vague and had failed to secure an explicit commitment from Pyongyang to intrusive verification.

The promise by North Korea to work toward “complete denuclearization” of the North Korean peninsula, Mr. Pompeo asserted, was tantamount to a commitment by Pyongyang to accept that the elimination of its nuclear weapons and forces must be irreversible and verifiable, although neither of those words are in the joint statement.

“Let me assure you that ‘complete’ encompasses verifiable in the minds of everyone concerned,” he said. “One can’t completely denuclearize without validating, authenticating—you pick the word.”

Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Trump on Wednesday had said his summit in Singapore with North Korea’s leader brought an end to that nation’s nuclear threat, even as there was no firm agreement on a complete and verifiable denuclearization.

“Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, shortly after stepping off Air Force One from his flight from Singapore. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

At the summit in Singapore, Mr. Trump said the U.S. would halt large-scale joint military exercises with South Korea, long an irritant to Pyongyang, while the two leaders signed the communiqué pledging to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. South Korea and Japan were caught by surprise by that decision; the Pentagon has asserted for years that the exercises are needed to maintain the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces to defend against a potential North Korean attack.

Mr. Pompeo declined to say whether the administration had asked U.S. military commanders in South Korean for their input before deciding to suspend the exercises. But he emphasized that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Kim that the exercises would be resumed if the North Korean didn’t engage seriously in the nuclear talks.

“At the point that it’s concluded they are not, the president’s commitment to not have those joint exercises take place will no longer be in effect,” Mr. Pompeo added.

Mr. Trump also has said sanctions against North Korea would remain in effect until “we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor.”

North Korea, for its part, said Mr. Trump had told Mr. Kim he intended to lift the sanctions, suggesting through its state media that Mr. Trump had explicitly acceded to two longstanding North Korean demands during bilateral talks at their summit meeting.

Mr. Pompeo rejected characterizations in North Korean media that suggested that Mr. Trump has accepted Pyongyang’s long-held position that the denuclearization process should be phased and potentially prolonged.

President Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday morning.
President Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday morning. PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“One should heavily discount some things that are written in other places, including from some of your colleagues,” he said to a small group of journalists.

Mr. Pompeo said that the two sides hadn’t yet decided when talks with North Korea would continue or what form they would take, but he suggested it would happen soon.

The secretary said the requirement for the exercises to remain suspended is that “productive, good faith negotiations” continue.

Mr. Pompeo’s comments represented his first on-the-record interview since the Singapore summit. He plans to meet Thursday morning at the Blue House with South Korean President Moon Jae-In and then hold consultations with the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers before traveling later in the day to Beijing.

Some former U.S. negotiators have said the summit declaration was overly vague and failed to secure ironclad commitments from North Korea.

“The only possible reaction to the summit is disappointment,” Robert Gallucci, who led U.S. talks with North Korea during the Clinton administration, wrote on the website 38 North. “The only real question was whether the American president would get more specificity, some clarity from the North Korean chairman of what he meant by denuclearization and when it might happen. We got none of that.”

Mr. Pompeo said that a “great deal of work” had been done in pre-summit talks, which negotiators could draw on in the weeks and months ahead, though he acknowledged some of the understandings yet to be spelled out in writing.

“Not all of that work appeared in the final document,” he said, referring to the summit declaration. “Lots of other places where there were understandings reached, we couldn’t reduce them to writing, so that means there’s still some work to do”

Christopher Hill, who headed the U.S. delegation to six-party talks over North Korea during the George W. Bush administration, had said the document didn’t really change anything in part because it didn’t say anything about North Korea’s neighbors.

Write to Michael R. Gordon at michael.gordon@wsj.com and Daniel Nasaw at daniel.nasaw@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-suggests-singapore-summit-ended-north-korea-nuclear-threat-1528895717?mod=hp_lead_pos1

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The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s confident that U.S. talks with North Korea will resume “sometime in the next week.”

Pompeo says he doesn’t know the exact timing. Speaking in Seoul, he says he expects it to happen fairly quickly after he and the North Koreans return to their nations. Pompeo returns late Thursday to the U.S.

He says President Donald Trump is “in the lead” but that “I will be the person who takes the role of driving this process forward.”

He says much more work has been done by the U.S. and North Korean that couldn’t be encapsulated in the Trump-Kim Jong Un statement. So he says teams will now work to make more progress on those items.

___

11:20 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States wants North Korea to take major nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years.

Pompeo is laying out an ambitious timeline for denuclearization following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. He says he won’t disclose specific timelines but that the administration is hopeful that “major, major disarmament” steps can occur before the end of Trump’s first term. The term ends in January 2021.

Pompeo is also urging skepticism after North Korean official media said Trump had agreed to a step-by-step approach to denuclearization. Pompeo isn’t being specific but says that “one should heavily discount some things that are written in other places.”

Pompeo spoke to reporters from Seoul, South Korea.

___

11:15 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un understands that “there will be in-depth verification” of nuclear commitments in any deal with the U.S.

Pompeo is pushing back on criticism that the joint agreement signed by Kim and President Donald Trump includes no mention of verifying North Korean nuclear disarmament. Ahead of Trump’s summit with Kim, the U.S. had said disarmament must be “complete, verifiable and irreversible.”

But Pompeo tells reporters that it’s silly to focus on the lack of the word “verifiable.” He says that’s because the agreement does refer to “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Pompeo says that “in the minds of everyone concerned,” the word “complete” encompasses “verifiable.”

Pompeo says: “I am equally confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification.”

___

11:10 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises will resume if North Korea stops negotiating in good faith over its nuclear program.

Pompeo is in South Korea a day after President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong Un and announced the U.S. would freeze what he called “war games” with North Korea.

Pompeo says he was there when Trump talked about it with Kim. He says Trump “made very clear” that the condition for the freeze was that good-faith talks continue. He says if the U.S. concludes they no longer are in good faith, the freeze “will no longer be in effect.”

Pompeo says Trump was “unambiguous” in conveying that to Kim.

___

11 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says President Donald Trump should be “applauded” for his meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. But Ryan is cautioning on Wednesday that the next steps toward an agreement won’t go fast.

The Wisconsin Republican, who is retiring this year, told reporters that “The president needed to disrupt the status quo, and the president has disrupted the status quo” with the historic meeting in Singapore. He said “the president should be applauded….Now let’s go get an agreement.”

Trump and Kim signed a joint statement that contained a repeat of past promises to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, but the details haven’t been nailed down.

He cautioned that no one should expect that process to go quickly. “Time,” he said, “will tell how this ends.”

___

10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is challenging skeptical media coverage of his historic summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. He says “Fake News” is the nation’s “biggest enemy.”

Trump writes on Twitter that “the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN” are “fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea.”

Trump says that “500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal-looked like war would break out.”

The president says the country’s “biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”

Trump has been tweeting about his talks with Kim since Air Force One returned to the United States early Wednesday morning, arguing that the talks with North Korea have made the U.S. safer. Trump’s claim is dubious considering Pyongyang’s significant weapons arsenal.

___

7:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his calls to end military exercises with South Korea that allies have said is important to security in the Asia Pacific region.

Trump says on Twitter after returning from his Singapore summit that “we save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith.”

Trump has said the U.S. and South Korea should stop their joint military exercises as long as both sides are negotiating in good faith, which the president says is happening.

Back in the United States, Trump is tweeting about his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea even though experts estimate that Kim’s government has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs.

__

6:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says on Twitter, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” as he returns to the United States after his historic summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump says on Twitter that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office.”

He says before he took office, “people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea,” and President Barack Obama said North Korea was the nation’s biggest problem.

Trump and Kim signed an agreement to work toward denuclearization, but it appears weaker than past deals that failed. Independent experts estimate North Korea now has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs, and it has tested missiles that could potentially deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland.

___

5:37 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived back in Washington from his historic nuclear summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning, completing the president’s marathon trip to Asia for talks with the North Korean leader. The president made refueling stops in Guam and Hawaii on his return to Washington.

While his aircraft refueled in Hawaii, Trump thanked Kim for “taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people,” saying their summit on Tuesday “proves that real change is possible!”

During his return, Trump spoke with South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

___

6:25 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed at Osan Air Base south of Seoul ahead of meetings with America’s allies in the aftermath of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

He’s expected to meet privately in the evening with Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

Pompeo will meet President Moon Jae-in on Thursday morning to discuss the summit.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is also heading to Seoul and is due to meet with Pompeo and his South Korean counterpart. Pompeo, the former CIA director, then plans to fly to Beijing to update the Chinese government on the talks.

___

5:05 p.m.

Russia is welcoming the outcome of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says “one can only welcome the fact that such a meeting took place and that direct dialogue was begun.”

Peskov tells reporters in Moscow on Wednesday that the meeting helps de-escalate tensions and push the situation away “from the critical point where it was just a few months ago.”

Peskov says the meeting confirms Russian President Vladimir Putin’s view that “there is no alternative to political and diplomatic means in solving the problem of the Korean Peninsula.”

Peskov adds, however, that given how complicated the situation is around North Korea, the Kremlin isn’t expecting a quick resolution.

___

3:20 p.m.

A spokesman of South Korean President Moon Jae-in says Washington and Seoul need to consider a “variety of ways to further facilitate dialogue” while they are engaged in nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.

Kim Eui-kyeom made the comments on Wednesday when asked to respond to President Donald Trump, who following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that the United States and South Korea should stop their joint military exercises “as long as we are negotiating in good faith.”

Kim, Moon’s spokesman, says Seoul is still trying to figure out the exact meaning and intent of Trump’s comments.

___

10:50 a.m.

The U.S. top diplomat is jetting to South Korea to brief the country’s president as Asian allies try to parse the implications of the extraordinary nuclear summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

South Korea’s presidential office says U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet President Moon Jae-in Thursday morning to discuss the meeting, which made history as the first between sitting leaders of the U.S. and North Korea.

Trump and Kim reached a broad agreement that offered few specifics but included promises of U.S. security guarantees and a reiteration from Kim of his country’s commitment to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump however seems to have caught allies off guard by saying he would stop U.S.-South Korean war games.

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One Response to “Pompeo: U.S. Wants ‘Major Disarmament’ of North Korea During Trump’s Term”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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