National Security & Defense

Pompeo: Kim Jong-un ‘Personally’ Assured Me He’d Denuclearize

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poses with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in an undated photo released May 9, 2018. (KCNA/via Reuters)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘personally’ offered assurances he is ready to give up his nuclear weapons.

“He has indicated to me personally that he is prepared to denuclearize,” Pompeo told reporters at the White House Thursday. “He understands that we can’t do it the way we’ve done it before — that this has to be big and bold and we have to agree to making major changes.”

Denuclearization must be complete, verifiable, and irreversible, the secretary of state said.

The White House is deep in preparations for the historic summit between President Trump and Kim scheduled to take place June 12 in Singapore. Pompeo has steered the negotiations thus far, dining with a top North Korean official who hand-delivered a letter from Kim to Trump in New York last week.

“It’s not about who has the upper hand,” Pompeo insisted. “It’s about trying to find a way where the two sides can come to an understanding….This doesn’t happen instantaneously.”

The country’s top diplomat added that he hopes Kim Jong-un is prepared to make a “big shift in his strategic understanding of his security” and chart a “brighter path for North Korea and its people.”

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