Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a month ago, says he saw a “real opportunity” to negotiate an end to the regime’s nuclear weapons program.
In an interview with Jonathan Karl aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Pompeo said of the “goal” of his meeting with Kim “was to try and identify if there was a real opportunity there. I believe there is.”
“Who knows how the ultimate discussions will go,” Pompeo added. “There is a lot of work to do, but I am very hopeful that the conditions that have been set by President Trump give us this chance.”
Pompeo’s interview – his first since being sworn in Thursday as the new secretary of state – follows an historic Friday meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the first time a North Korean leader has crossed the border into South Korea since the Korean War halted in 1953. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Kim within the next month or so to press negotiations to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
On Sunday, Pompeo credited Trump’s pressure campaign for bringing the North Korean leader to the bargaining table.
“We have built a coalition – a diplomatic coalition has come together to put pressure on Kim Jong Un. President Trump and that pressure campaign are the reasons Kim Jong Un wants this meeting,” Pompeo said.
Asked by Karl whether anything the North Korean leader says could be trusted, Pompeo said the administration is “not going to take words.”
“We’re going to look for actions and deeds,” the secretary of state said. “And until such time, the president has made it incredibly clear we will keep the pressure campaign in place until we achieve that.”
Pressed by Karl on whether anything Kim says can be trusted, Pompeo said “this administration has its eyes wide open.”
“We know the history. We know the risks,” Pompeo said. “We’re going to be very different. We’re going to negotiate in a different way than has been done before. We’re going to require those steps – we use the word irreversible with great intention. We’re going to require those steps that demonstrate that denuclearization is going to be achieved. "
“We’re not going to make promises. We’re not going to take words,” he added. “We’re going to look for actions and deeds.”