SINGAPORE - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday (June 11) the United States is willing to offer North Korea “unique” security guarantees in exchange for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
A complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation is the only outcome the United States will accept, he said, adding that sanctions will remain until that has been achieved.
He was speaking to reporters at a briefing at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach ahead of the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that will be held at Capella hotel in Sentosa island.
Noting that North Korea has previously confirmed its willingness to denuclearise, the US is “eager to see if those words prove sincere”, he said, adding that talks between US and North Korean officials continued in Singapore on Monday.
He said the pre-summit talks were “moving quite rapidly”.
In return for complete denuclearisation, Mr Pompeo said the US will take actions to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation isn’t something that ends badly for them”.
He added: “Just the opposite. That it leads to a brighter and better future for the North Korean people”.
The guarantees the US would provide would be “different and unique” compared to what has been offered previously. Among other measures, Mr Trump is willing to expand access to foreign investment and other economic opportunities if Mr Kim takes the right steps, he said.
Mr Pompeo also addressed a report by the New York Times that the US team lacked technical expertise on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programme.
He said a team of experts - from the military, Department of Energy and members of the intelligence community covering North Korea - have been meeting over the last three months to discuss the issue.
“Any suggestion that the United States lacks expertise across government or on the ground here in Singapore is mistaken,” he said.
He said Mr Trump also called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae In on Monday on the eve of the summit.
Analysts have said that in exchange for denuclearisation, Mr Kim is likely to ask for a security guarantee and the easing of sanctions.
A peace treaty ending the 1950-53 Korean War may also be on the table. The two Koreas remain technically at war as the conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
The briefing was held hours after a working lunch between Mr Trump and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.