Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s commitment to denuclearization Thursday.
Kim “indicated to me personally that he is prepared to denuclearize,” Pompeo told reporters at the White House Thursday afternoon, stressing that Kim is ready to do something “big and bold.”
President Donald Trump will meet the North Korean leader in Singapore on Tuesday.
“I really think there’s a potential to make a deal,” the president said about an hour before Pompeo’s meeting with reporters. Kim and Trump are expected to discuss denuclearization, as well as a possible end to the Korean War and maybe even the eventual normalization of diplomatic relations between North Korea and the United States. (RELATED: Trump Says He Might Invite Kim Jong Un To The White House If The Summit Goes Well)
While the president is optimistic, he emphasized that he remains prepared to walk away.
“President Trump is hopeful, but he is also going into the summit with his eyes wide open,” Pompeo explained. “You can be sure that President Trump will not stand for a bad deal.”
He said the Trump administration is pursuing a solid agreement that ensures complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization and cannot be undone by any future administration. The Obama administration “signed a flimsy piece of paper. We’re hoping to submit a document that Congress would also have a say in,” he told reporters.
No sitting American president has ever met a North Korean leader face to face, so the administration is sailing through uncharted waters. The secretary of state, as some others have done, credited the president’s strategy of “maximum pressure and engagement” for bringing Kim to the negotiating table, a view disputed by the North Koreans. Earlier in the day, Trump said he does not intend to continue using the term “maximum pressure” unless the summit fails to achieve the desired outcome.
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