Pompeo downplays chance of summit with North Korea this year

Pompeo downplays chance of summit with North Korea this year
© Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration State Department offers M reward for foreign election interference information State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration MORE on Wednesday downplayed the possibility of holding a summit this year with North Korea.

Pompeo said North Korea has given “mixed signals” and has decided “not to engage” with the U.S. to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

“The truth is President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE only wants to engage in a summit if we believe there’s a sufficient likelihood that we can make real progress in achieving the outcomes that were set forth in Singapore,” Pompeo told The Hill's Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Progress slow on coronavirus bill The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pompeo said the U.S. is trying to hold “informed discussions” with North Korea and that denuclearization and stability in the area are important.

“But you need to have a willing partner,” Pompeo said. “And the North Koreans have chosen at this point in time not to engage in a way that can lead to a potential solution. We hope they’ll change their mind.” 

The secretary of State said other countries in the region, like Japan, China and South Korea, support denuclearization in a way that is “completely verifiable.”  

“We’ve avoided having a long-range missile fired. We’ve avoided nuclear testing. Now it’s time to get to the harder problems and secure a better outcome, not only for the security of the American people but for the people of North Korea as well,” he said.

North Korean officials have repeatedly declined another meeting with Trump after denuclearization talks stalled following a summit in Vietnam between Trump and Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnTrump advisers were wary of talking military options over fears he'd accidentally start war: report Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the new nuclear danger Kim: North Korea's nuclear weapons will prevent war MORE that ended suddenly last year without an agreement

ADVERTISEMENT

The president also met with Kim in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea last year, before nuclear talks between the countries collapsed. 

Kim and Trump met for a first summit in 2018 in Singapore, where North Korean officials showed openness to potentially ending its nuclear testing program. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has requested Trump and Kim meet again before the November election, Reuters reported earlier this month. 

The likelihood of an in-person meeting is also unlikely because of the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said earlier this month.