Despite two failed attempts at brokering a firm agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he’s confident a third summit will take place between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Speaking to “CBS This Morning” on Friday, Pompeo would not provide a clear date or location for this third meeting, but expressed hope that it would take place “soon.” Pompeo acknowledged that while “we didn’t get as far as the world is demanding,” the two leaders left Hanoi with a “deeper understanding of each other.”
“The positions that the two sides had, the two leaders were able to make progress in that respect,” he said. In February, President Trump told reporters in Vietnam he and Kim were unable to sign an agreement as scheduled largely because they disagreed on sanctions and nuclear facilities.
After the White House abruptly announced the summit would be cut short, Mr. Trump explained, “Sometimes you have to walk.” Mr. Trump said walking away from the talks would be better than giving away too much. North Korea, the president said, wanted the U.S. to eliminate all sanctions imposed on the nation in exchange for the shuttering of just one nuclear facility.
Pompeo said the U.S. has always known negotiations with the North would “take a while” but said the administration is still determined and “convinced the North Koreans are determined as well” to reach complete and verifiable denuclearization, despite a history of broken promises on the part of the North.
“Chairman Kim has promised me, he’s promised President Trump he will denuclearize, now it’s the mission of my team to make sure that happens.” Those comments come as South Korean President Moon Jae-in prepares to make a visit to the White House next week to meet with Pompeo and Mr. Trump. Asked if current diplomatic channels have gone cold between the North and South and the North and the U.S. since the failed summits, Pompeo replied: “Nope.”
Pompeo noted, however, that the administration remains “incredibly clear” that economic sanctions on the North “will not be lifted until our ultimate objective is achieved.”
Meanwhile, Pompeo said a recent security breach at the president’s Palm Beach estate by a Chinese woman carrying a device with computer malware “tells the American people the threat China poses, the efforts that they’re making here inside the United States, not only against government officials but more broadly.”
Pompeo said that threat is being discussed duringthis week. He said the theft of intellectual property is a big business for China “to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars” and emphasized that the administration is “determined to push back against it.”
Mr. Trump on Thursday told reporters he thinks there’s a “very good chance” of reaching a trade deal with China, the latest sign that the months-long dispute could be coming to a close.
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