If the North denuclearises, the U.S. is ready to help it achieve economic growth, says Mike Pompeo
North Korea can look forward to “a future brimming with peace and prosperity” if it agrees to quickly give up its nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged on Friday ahead of a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
“If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearise, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends,” Mr. Pompeo told a news conference after talks with his South Korean counterpart in Washington.
“If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity for the North Korean people,” he said, adding that the United States had a track record of support for the Korean people that was “second to none”.
Mr. Pompeo, who returned from Pyongyang this week with three Americans who had been held prisoner by North Korea, said the release of men had helped set conditions for a successful meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim in Singapore on June 12. However, his comments made clear that the two sides remained far apart on the key issue of what they mean by denuclearisation.
Mr. Pompeo said he had “good, substantive” conversations with Mr. Kim in Pyongyang, and believed both sides understood the ultimate goal of the summit.
In spite of an easing of tensions and a return to dialogue in recent months, North Korea has given no indication that it is willing to go beyond statements of broad support the for concept of denuclearisation.
North Korea’s former spy chief Kim Yong-chul, director of the country’s United Front Department, boasted in a toast to Mr. Pompeo over lunch in Pyongyang on Wednesday that North Korea had ”perfected” it nuclear capability.
Mr. Pompeo said U.S. aim was clear — “to ensure that North Korean doesn’t possess the capacity to threaten, not only the United States but the world, with nuclear weapons”.
He also said the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula would require a robust verification” programme by the United States and other countries.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stressed that sanctions against Pyongyang would not be lifted until it had taken concrete steps to denuclearise.