Following two U.S.-North Korea summits that have made little to no progress on denuclearization of the peninsula over the past two years, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he’s “confident” a third will occur.
During an appearance Friday on “CBS This Morning,” Pompeo expressed optimism at the possibility of another meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But when he was pushed to specify a time frame, he wasn’t sure when it might happen, saying only that he hopes it will be soon.
“We came out of Hanoi with a deeper understanding of each other, the positions that the two sides had,” he said of the most recent summit, which took place February in Vietnam. “The two leaders were able to make progress in that respect. We didn’t get as far as the world is demanding.”
However, reports indicate the two countries didn’t get anywhere. The talks were cut short as negotiations collapsed when, according to Trump, Kim asked for a complete and total lift of sanctions. The president said North Korea was willing to denuclearize a significant share of the areas the U.S. wanted, but it wasn’t enough.
Pompeo chalked up the lack of success to the nature of deal-making.
“You know, it’s the negotiation, and we’ve always known this was going to take a while, so I don’t know that I was disappointed,” he said. “You always hope you’ll make progress faster, better.”
But additional talks on denuclearization and the failed summit are right around the corner as South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit the White House next week for a meeting with Trump.
Last month, a White House statement on the meeting said it would focus on “the latest developments” regarding North Korea “as well as bilateral matters.”
Despite upended talks with North Korea, no signs the country is ready to give up nuclear weapons and indications it has rebuilt a long-range missile launch site, Pompeo said Kim promised both him and Trump that he would denuclearize.
“Now it’s the mission of my team to make sure that happens,” he said.