Pompeo: US Expects To See Major Disarmament Steps From North Korea By End Of Trump’s First Term

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

The U.S. expects North Korea to make major progress on denuclearization and disarmament by the end of Trump’s first term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday in Seoul.

The Trump administration wants to see “major, major disarmament,” Pompeo said in Seoul, according to the Associated Press. “We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the [two- to two-and-a-half] years,” he added. The secretary of state is in South Korea briefing officials on the Singapore summit.

North Korea “has to be de-nuked and [Kim Jong Un] understood that, he fully understood that, he didn’t fight it,” the president told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday. Earlier, he said he expected the denuclearization process to begin “very quickly.”

Pompeo also commented on the cancellation of joint military exercises with the South Koreans, which many observers consider an undeserved concession to North Korea. He said the war games will restart if North Korea appears to be negotiating in good faith.

Pompeo’s statements reflect those made by the president on Twitter earlier in the day. (RELATED: Trump Explains Why He Gave Up War Games In North Korea Summit)

While critics argue the agreement Trump and the North Korean leader signed in Singapore Tuesday is a weak framework for denuclearization, especially with the lack of any clear language on verification, Pompeo asserts that there is more to the agreement than what is written in the document.

“Not all of that work appeared in the final document. But lots of other places where there were understandings reached, we couldn’t reduce them to writing, so that means there’s still some work to do, but there was a great deal of work done that is beyond what was seen in the final document that will be the place that we will begin when we return to our conversations,” he explained, according to Reuters.

In particular, he emphasized that Kim understands that complete denuclearization includes steps to verify that North Korea has actually disarmed. “I am confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification,” Pompeo told reporters.

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