WASHINGTON – United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that he expects to return from Pyongyang on the weekend with a plan for the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll come away from that with better understandings, deeper progress and a plan forward, not only for the summit between the two leaders, but for us to continue the efforts to build out a pathway for denuclearization,” Pompeo said at a briefing at the State Department.
Pompeo’s trip to North Korea next Sunday will be his third as secretary of state.
He said that he would not make any further comment about the progress of the negotiations.
However, he did say that “I’m very happy to be going back to get another chance to continue to advance the commitment that Chairman Kim and President Trump made back in Singapore in the second week of June.”
At the Singapore summit, Kim promised Trump that he would work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but North Korea’s actions have not met Washington’s demands for a full inventory of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and irreversible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal.
North Korea, for its part, has said that it will not unilaterally denuclearize as long as US sanctions against it remain in place.
The top US diplomat’s Asia tour will begin in Japan on Oct. 6-7 and later he will travel to Pyongyang to meet with Kim on Oct. 7. His last two stops will be in South Korea and China, the latter of which he will visit on Oct. 8.
The trip comes within the context of improved bilateral relations with Trump jokingly saying last Saturday at a campaign rally that after his June summit with Kim in Singapore they “fell in love.”