Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to pressure North Korea’s top nuclear weapons negotiator about his country’s possible denuclearization on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 as the fate of the planned summit between the two countries hangs in the balance.
Over a meal of steak, corn and cheese in New York, Pompeo pressed Kim Yong-chol about how long it would take to get North Korea to completely denuclearize, a senior State Department official said, and in return offered “the security guarantees they feel they need.”
“Between now and if we’re going to have a summit, they’re going to have to make clear what they’re willing to do,” the official said. “I think we are looking for something historic. I think we’re looking for something that has never been done before.”
The U.S. is prepared to keep up the pressure on Pyongyang, the official added, until the North Koreans are ready.
Currently the vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, Kim is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the U.S. since 2000. He traveled to the states this week after President Donald Trump abruptly canceled the summit, set to take place on June 12 in Singapore, last Thursday. Trump changed his tune a day later, hinting the summit could still take place.
Officials on both sides have since rushed to repair the damage, conducting a series of meetings in the Korean Demilitarized Zone that were ongoing as of Tuesday, the White House confirmed. The U.S. also sent a team to Singapore to prepare for the summit.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. was still committed to the June 12 date for the summit.
“And if not, we’ll be ready on July 12,” she said.
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