The United States is willing to offer North Korea “unique” security guarantees if it embarks on “complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
On the eve of a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, Pompeo sounded an upbeat tone, saying that preparatory talks were advancing more quickly than expected.
Stating that the US would not again be duped by North Korea, Pompeo said the Trump administration would only accept complete denuclearization.
In return, he said, “we will take actions to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization is not something that ends badly for them,” Pompeo said.
“Just the opposite: that it leads to a brighter and better future for the North Korean people.”
Pompeo said these guarantees would be “different and unique” from what the US has been willing to provide before.
“I’m very optimistic we will have a successful outcome with the two leaders,” he said.
“There are only two people that can make decisions of this magnitude. Those two people will sit in a room tomorrow.”
Earlier Monday, Trump similarly expressed optimism during a working lunch with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and aides to both leaders.
Trump said, “We’ve got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely.” He also told Lee the decision to hold the summit in the island city-state of Singapore was “made very consciously” and offered his gratitude.
Kim met with Lee on Sunday.
Trump has said he hopes to make a legacy-defining deal for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though he has recently sought to minimize expectations, saying more than one meeting may be necessary. The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session. The US president has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty. China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.
Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore hours apart Sunday. Trump descended from Air Force One into the steamy Singapore night, greeting officials and declaring he felt “very good” before being whisked away to his hotel via a route lined with police and photo-snapping onlookers. Trump traveled to Singapore from Canada, where he attended a meeting with other world leaders.
A jet carrying Kim landed hours earlier. After shaking hands with Singapore’s foreign minister, Kim sped through the streets in a limousine, two large North Korean flags fluttering on the hood, surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted windows and bound for the luxurious and closely guarded St. Regis Hotel.