US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Donald Trump’s North Korea summit is still on
Despite the US president’s remarks the day before, Pompeo says the Trump-Kim meeting is ‘still scheduled for June 12’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump’s plan to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month, thrown into doubt after Trump’s comments a day earlier, was still in place.
“We must maintain America’s historic role as a truly global power, whose first instinct and overwhelming preference is to use diplomacy to solve global challenges,” Pompeo said in testimony before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “We’re already seeing this in the preparations for our historic meeting with North Korea, still scheduled for June 12th.
“Our eyes are wide open to the lessons of history, but we’re optimistic that we can achieve an outcome that would be great for the world. Our posture will not change until we see credible steps taken towards the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in Washington on Wednesday for talks at the State Department, said at a news conference with Pompeo that “now is the time” to make peace with Pyongyang.
“I told our US colleagues that if you want to solve the problem, now is the time,” Wang said. “If you want peace, now is the time. If you want to make history, now is the time.”
Wang said that in his first meeting with his US counterpart, he listened to Pompeo’s analysis of recent North Korean developments.
“China is firmly committed to denuclearise the Korean peninsula,” Wang said, adding that “it is necessary to address the legitimate security concerns” of North Korea.
Plans for Trump and Kim to meet in Singapore on June 12 appeared unlikely after Trump suggested that China’s President Xi Jinping might have influenced Kim to take a harder line against demands that talks lead to Pyongyang’s abandonment of nuclear weapons.
The US leader made the accusation last week and repeated it during his meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday at the White House.
Speaking to reporters before boarding Marine One, Trump sounded more certain about his meeting with Kim than he was a day earlier, saying: “Someday a date will happen. It could very well be June 12th.
“Whatever it is, we will know next week about Singapore. If we go, I think it’ll be a great thing.”
On Tuesday, with Moon at his side, Trump told reporters: “It may not work out for June 12.”
“We’re moving along,” he added. “We’ll see what happens. If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. You never know about deals. … I’ve made a lot of deals. You never really know.”
While denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is understood by all three sides to be the goal of direct diplomatic engagement between Washington and North Korea, Pyongyang has signalled that it wants reciprocal measures by the US and its military ally South Korea.