Following the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan, and later China to brief them on the way forward with North Korea.
At a press briefing in Seoul with the foreign ministers of both South Korea and Japan, Secretary Pompeo praised the cooperation of the two U.S. allies as “key” to creating the opportunity for the summit in Singapore, which he said, marked “a turning point in the U.S.-North Korea relationship,” when Kim Jong-un made a “public commitment to completely denuclearize.”
Secretary Pompeo emphasized that “this will be a process, and not an easy one.” He stressed that during it, the United States will stay closely aligned with South Korea and Japan, and reiterated the “ironclad” nature of the U.S.-South Korea alliance and U.S.-Japan alliance.
He also underscored that “sanctions relief cannot take place until such time as we have demonstrated that North Korea has been completely denuclearized.”
At a press conference in Beijing following a meeting with China’s foreign minister, Secretary of State Pompeo thanked China and President Xi Jinping for also “helping bring North Korea to the negotiating table and for continued support as we work to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.”
Mr. Pompeo pointed out that China has “reaffirmed its commitment” to maintain sanctions on North Korea mandated by U.N. Security Council resolutions. “Those [resolutions] have mechanisms for relief contained in them, and we agreed that at the appropriate time that those would be considered,” he noted. “But we have made very clear that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after the full denuclearization, the complete denuclearization, of North Korea.”
Secretary of State Pompeo said he is heartened that South Korea, Japan and China all acknowledged what occurred at the U.S.-North Korea summit: “that we have turned a corner; that we have begun a process away from the threat of war and towards peace on the peninsula.”