The Trump Administration was seriously preparing for the success of the June 12 Summit meeting with North Korea, but there was not much response from Pyongyang, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo said that North Korea did not respond to repeated requests from American officials to discuss logistics for Singapore Summit, which now has been cancelled. “I don’t believe in that sense that we’re in a position to believe that there could be a successful outcome. I think that’s what the president communicated pretty clearly in his letter,” Pompeo told lawmakers responding to a question after President Donald Trump in a letter to Kim announced to cancel the June 12 Singapore summit with him.
“I can add to that. Over the past many days, we have endeavoured to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, which was to put teams, preparation teams together to begin to work to prepare for the summit and we have received no response to our inquiries from them,” Pompeo said. He refuted the notion that the US was not ready for the summit. “The American team is full prepared. I think we’re rocking. I think we’re ready. I think we’re prepared for this meeting. I think President Trump’s prepared for this meeting. We were fully, fully engaged over the past weeks to prepare for this meeting. So I disagree with your assessment that the Americans are not ready,” he said.
In the last several weeks, Pompeo has met Kim twice. He travelled to Pyongyang quietly as a CIA Director and then as the Secretary of State early this month. In all, Pompeo met Kim for over three hours, during which he stressed the need of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. During his second visit, he was able to secure the release of three American prisoners in North Korea. Pompeo said that policy of maximum pressure on North Korea would continue till there is a normalization in the relationship. At the same time, Pompeo hoped that the two countries can quickly return to possibility of Summit. In the interim, “the pressure campaign continues,” he said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said the North Korean regime has long given ample reason to question its commitment to stability. “We must continue to work with our allies toward a peaceful resolution, but that will require a much greater degree of seriousness from the Kim regime,” he said. At the same time, Congress has provided significant tools to hold North Korea accountable, and it is important that the United States not relent in this maximum pressure campaign, Ryan asserted.
Observing that the goal is to peacefully end North Korea’s nuclear threats, Congressman Ed Royce said the administration should continue to look for opportunities while applying maximum diplomatic and financial pressure against Kim. “Our allies – including South Korea and Japan – need to stand with the United States. There can be no daylight between us,” said Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “North Korea has a long history of demanding concessions merely to negotiate.
While past administrations of both parties have fallen for this ruse, I commend the president for seeing through Kim’s fraud,” Senator Tom Cotton said. Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna urged Trump to reconsider his decision to cancel his meeting with Kim. Supporting Trump’s decision, Senator Marco Rubio said that for two weeks now, Kim has been trying to sabotage the summit and set the US up to take the blame. “If other leaders in North Korea want a better future, they should get rid of Kim Jong Un as soon as possible,” Rubio said.