Pompeo: State will continue to prep for North Korea summit

Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the State Department was moving forward with preparations for President Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite threats from Pyongyang to withdraw from the summit.

“We are continuing to prepare both our team and the White House so that, in the event that the summit takes place on June 12, we are fully prepared with the mission statement having not changed at all,” Pompeo told reporters at a press briefing.

“We are committed to achieving denuclearization and creating conditions such that the North Korean regime no longer threatens the world.”


Pompeo’s comments echoed past assertions by the State Department that it would continue to plan for the June 12 summit, regardless of the North’s threats to back out of the meeting.

North Korea has made a number of diplomatic overtures in recent weeks. The isolated country announced last month that it would dismantle a nuclear site ahead of the talks with Trump. And earlier this month, the North released three American prisoners during a brief trip to Pyongyang by Pompeo.

But the prospect for talks appeared to shift to shakier ground last week after Pyongyang abruptly canceled scheduled talks with South Korea, citing Seoul’s joint military exercises with the U.S.

North Korea also threatened to withdraw from the summit with Trump if he insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump has privately questioned aides and allies whether he should still meet with Kim amid concerns that the encounter could end up being politically embarrassing.

A top South Korean official pushed back on Tuesday against speculation that the U.S.–North Korea meeting was in jeopardy, telling reporters that Seoul is “99.9 percent” certain that the meeting will proceed as planned.

“We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance the North Korea–U.S. summit will be held as scheduled,” said Chung Eui-yong, the national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “But we’re just preparing for many different possibilities.” 

Tags denuclearization Donald Trump Mike Pompeo Mike Pompeo North Korea State Department
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