Pompeo: North Korea's Kim will determine timeline for denuclearization

Pompeo: North Korea's Kim will determine timeline for denuclearization
© Anna Moneymaker

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Graham clashed with Pentagon chief over Syria | Talk grows that Trump will fire Coats | Coast Guard officer accused of domestic terrorism plot Sean Spicer joins 'Extra' as 'special DC correspondent' Trump, Pompeo: Alabama woman who joined ISIS cannot return to US MORE said Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will determine his nation's timeline for possible denuclearization as the Trump administration pushes Pyongyang to give up its nuclear capabilities.

"The ultimate timeline for denuclearization will be set by Chairman Kim, at least in part," Pompeo told Channel NewsAsia in an interview.

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"The decision is his. He made a commitment, and we're very hopeful that over the coming weeks and months we can make substantial progress towards that and put the North Korean people on a trajectory towards a brighter future very quickly," he added.

Kim signed an agreement with President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE earlier this year that contained no specific timeline for denuclearization, with the Trump administration stating that sanctions relief is broadly contingent on U.S. verification that disarmament has occurred.

Pompeo said in a CNN interview last month that both governments were committed to an "expeditious" process of ending the North's controversial weapons program, which the Trump administration has said is a prerequisite for ending crippling sanctions against the country's economy.

"I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that's two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do," he said.

On Friday, however, the United States's top diplomat told reporters that North Korea still has much to do to complete the dismantlement of its nuclear program.

“Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo told reporters in Singapore. “The world demanded that [he] do so in the U.N. [United Nations] Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are in violation of one or both of the U.N. Security Council resolutions. We can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.”

Trump has suggested recently that he could meet with the North Korean leader again after the two met for a historic summit in Singapore in June.

This week, dozens of boxes of U.S. remains from those killed in the Korean War arrived home, which Trump has hailed as a key promise kept by Kim from their June meeting.

"Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong Un for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen! I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter - l look forward to seeing you soon!" Trump tweeted.