U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that talks between U.S. and Korean officials were moving "faster" than expected and that President Donald Trump's "mission of peace" would set the stage for future talks between the region's powers, suggesting tomorrow's meeting would not result in a breakthrough agreement to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula.
Speaking to the media ahead of Trump's much-anticipated meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un at the Capella hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, Pompeo said the U.S. would get its "clearing indication to date" as to whether Pyongyang shares the President's vision of a denuclearization and a brighter future. Pompeo, however, said economic sanctions would remain in place until the North Korean regime could provide "verifiable" proof that it's abandoned both its atomic weapons program and its ambitions to amass a nuclear arsenal.
"North Korea has previously confirmed its willingness to denuclearize and we are eager to see if these words prove sincere," Pompeo said in a statement. "The fact that our two leaders are sitting down, face-to-face, is a sign of the enormous potential to accomplish something that will immensely benefit both of our peoples and the entire world. President Trump believes Kim Jong Un has an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring prosperity to his country."
Trump arrived in Singapore Sunday, following his tumultuous weekend G-7 trade summit in Quebec City, declaring "excitement is in the air" as he prepared for a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whom he called "my friend."
"We've got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I just think it's going to work out very nicely," Trump told reporters, before telling Lee that "we appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and friendship."
Pompeo earlier said meetings between Korean and American officials were "substantive and detailed", but would not provide clarity as to what could potentially be decided at tomorrow's summit, the first ever face-to-face meeting between a U.S. President and a North Korean leader, particularly with respect to the withdraw or reduction of U.S. troops in South Korea.