National Security & Defense

Pompeo: Backdrop for North Korean Summit ‘Radically Different’ Than Ever Before

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference following a meeting with North Korea’s envoy Kim Yong Chol in New York, May 31, 2018. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Just hours before the leader of the free world is scheduled to meet with the North Korean dictator, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remarked that the context of the meeting is “radically different” than ever before.

President Trump arrived in Singapore Sunday night on a “mission of peace” to meet with leader Kim Jong Un at 9 am on Tuesday.

“North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearize and we are eager to see if those words prove sincere,” Pompeo told reporters at a briefing on Monday.

“All the preparations for the summit have come together very nicely.”

The secretary of state refused to discuss the specifics of what a deal might look like, but assured that “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” denuclearization of the Koreas is a non-negotiable component.

“We’re not going to do that,” he said of affording the North economic relief before the rogue regime permanently dismantles its nuclear weapons.

“I’m very optimistic that we will have a successful outcome from tomorrow’s meeting between the two leaders,” Pompeo said. “It’s the case, in each of those two countries, there are only two people that can make decisions of this magnitude. And those two people are going to be sitting in a room together tomorrow.”

The president himself has also exuded confidence about the meeting, which could end up being anything from a get-to-know-you starting point to a deal-signing. Trump said he will know “within the first minute” whether Kim Jong Un is serious about making a deal.

“Just my touch, my feel. That’s what I do,” the president said.

Trump has also been in close touch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan as well as President Moon of South Korea regarding the summit.

“I have spoken to South Korea and Japan and they are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden — any of the costs associated by the United States in operations, if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us,” Trump said last month.

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