US saw little chance of 'successful' Trump-Kim summit, says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

VIDEO: REUTERS
Pompeo (above) told lawmakers a “successful outcome” did not seem possible.
Pompeo (above) told lawmakers a “successful outcome” did not seem possible.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP/REUTERS) - The summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was scrapped because a "successful outcome" did not seem possible, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (May 24).

"I don't believe in that sense that we're in a position to believe that there could be a successful outcome. Over the past many days, we have received no response to our inquiries from them," Pompeo told US lawmakers.

Pompeo said he hoped Pyongyang and Washington would be able to resume talks on dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear programme but the decision was ultimately up to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I hope we quickly are able to get back to that place, but ultimately Chairman Kim will have that decision to make for himself,” Pompeo told a Senate committee, in his first comments shortly after President Donald Trump cancelled the historic summit, which had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.  

Trump announced his abrupt withdrawal from the summit in a letter to Kim on Thursday and called it a “missed opportunity.”

Pompeo read the letter aloud at the start of testimony to the committee, saying it was a disappointing development although “frankly not a surprise.”

Pompeo said Trump had made the decision himself to withdraw after meetings on Wednesday in which he concluded that the summit would not be successful.

 
 
 

Pompeo said discussions included how the administration would proceed towards North Korea.

“There is a lot of discussion within the administration about how to proceed on that,” Pompeo said, “We always knew there could be a summit that didn’t work that ultimately was unsuccessful.”

The United States will maintain sanctions against Pyongyang, Pompeo said, adding: “In some ways, it’s ‘situation normal.’ The pressure campaign continues.”

He said Pyongyang had not been responsive in recent days as the Trump administration sought to send logistics teams to Singapore ahead of the summit. 

“Over the past many days, we have endeavoured to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed to put preparation teams together to begin to work for the summit and we had received no response to our inquiries to them,” Pompeo said. 

“We’ve not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo said he did not think the summit’s cancellation was a sign that Kim is a “weak leader” and added: “In fact, he has demonstrated enormous capacity to lead his country and his team.”