U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo indicated on Thursday that it remains uncertain when American President Donald Trump will meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to discuss a deal towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for sanctions relief, stressing that “real progress” has been made towards an agreement.
Speaking from New York, Pompeo told reporters:
This is going to be a process that will take days and weeks to work our way through. There will be tough moments, there will be difficult times. I have had some difficult conversations with them as well. They’ve given it right back to me too.
One ought to be neither surprised nor frightened or deterred by moments where it looks like there are challenges and difficulties, Things that can’t be bridge our mission is to bridge them so that we can achieve this historic outcome.
The secretary stressed that progress has been made towards “setting the conditions” for a Trump-Kim summit, noting:
While we may not know tomorrow [when the meeting will take placee], I will tell you we’ve made real progress in the last 72 hours towards setting the conditions … the conditions are putting President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-Un in a place where we thing there could be real progress made by the two of them meeting.
Earlier on Thursday, President Trump told reporters that North Korean officials are expected to come to Washington on Friday with a letter from Kim about the prospective summit.
Pompeo noted that Vice Chairman Of North Korea Kim Yong Chol was preparing to travel to Washington to deliver the letter.
The secretary acknowledged that convincing North Korea to take significant steps taken towards complete, verifiable, irreversible de-nuclearization, which he described as the Trump administration’s primary goal, will be “a difficult challenge,” adding that there is still work to do.
Nevertheless, he stressed, “I’m confident we’re moving in the right direction,” adding:
The proposed summit offers a historic opening for President Trump and Chairman Kim to boldly lead the United States and [North Korea] into a new era of peace and prosperity and security.
Our two countries face a pivotal moment in our relationship in which it can be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste
The secretary went on to say that the Trump administration’s objective is “the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” in exchange for “a brighter path for North Korea.”
“We envision a strong, connected, and secure prosperous North Korea that maintains its cultural heritage, but its integrated into the community of nations,” he added.