‘Real opportunity’ for progress on North Korea: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during joint press briefing with the Saudi foreign minister at the Royal airport in the capital Riyadh on April 29, 2018

Washington (AFP) – The US has an “obligation” to pursue a diplomatic solution with North Korea, and there is a “real opportunity” for progress, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“We have an obligation to engage in diplomatic discourse to try and find a peaceful solution so that Americans aren’t held at risk by Kim Jong Un and his nuclear arsenal,” Pompeo told ABC, saying that there is a “real opportunity” for progress.

America’s top diplomat also said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held in-depth talks about a denuclearization “mechanism” when they met over Easter weekend.

“We talked a great deal about what it might look like, what this complete, verifiable, irreversible mechanism might look like,” Pompeo said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim in a historic summit, agreeing on Friday to pursue a permanent peace and the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

An armistice brought the fighting on the Korean peninsula to an end in 1953, but 65 years later, a final peace agreement has still not been reached.

The Moon-Kim meeting has raised expectations for US President Donald Trump’s own planned summit with the North Korean leader, the date and location of which have not yet been finalized.