Columns

Pompeo Hopes for North Korea Trip Soon 'Lord Willing' to Plan Second Trump-Kim Summit

President Trump meets with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on Sentosa Island on June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he’ll be heading to North Korea “Lord willing… before the end of the year” to prepare for a second summit between President Trump and dictator Kim Jong-un.

At a United Nations General Assembly press conference today with National Security Advisor John Bolton and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Pompeo was asked about “not seeing what you need to in terms of denuclearization” and how long the U.S. would “leave the door open before you decide this isn’t working.”

“You have to remember it’s a process that will move forward. And to set a date, certain, would be foolish,” Pompeo replied. “But make no mistake about it: The conversations that we’re having are important. They’re  putting the opportunity to complete the denuclearization in place. And we’re — we will continue at every level, to have those conversations. Some of them you will be aware of, some of them you won’t know are taking place.”

Pompeo noted UN Security Council resolutions that demanded North Korea give up its nuclear weapons capabilities, “and we’re working to assist in implementing them and to help Chairman Kim get to the right place to honor the promise that he made to President Trump in Singapore.”

At a meeting today with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump declared “a lot of very positive things are happening with Chairman Kim of North Korea, and you’ll be hearing about that over the coming weeks.”

“I’m going to be meeting with Chairman Kim in the not too distant future.  The location is being worked on, the time is being worked on, and we’ll be announcing it,” Trump said.

Pompeo told reporters that he wouldn’t get into detail on the meeting but “I’m confident that will happen.”

“I expect I’ll be traveling to Pyongyang before too long as well, to make the final preparations for that second meeting between the two leaders,” he said.

North Korea said last week that it would take steps toward denuclearization if the U.S. took unspecified measures in return; Pyongyang has historically regarded denuclearization as an agreement in which the U.S. would also disarm.

Pompeo wouldn’t talk about the state of the negotiations, but said “the fundamental principles remain the same.”

“We expect the full, complete, verified denuclearization of North Korea. And until such time as that occurs, the economic sanctions, the sanctions put in place by the United Nations Security Council, will remain in place,” he said. “That’s the core proposition that the president agreed to in Singapore, and it’s the one we’re going to continue to honor through the whole process.”