The secretary of state addressed concerns that the US and North Korea have different objectives in mind when considering denuclearization, prompting doubts that the Kim regime will actually be willing to give up the weapons it has already built.
Washington, May 10 President Donald Trump today thanked Kim Jong-un for releasing three American detainees as he personally welcomed them back to the United States, a development seen as a diplomatic win for him ahead of his planned summit with the North Korean leader on June 12 in Singapore.
In June 2008, global broadcasters were allowed to air the demolishing of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon reactor site, a year after the North reached an agreement with the United States and four other nations to disable its nuclear facilities in return for an aid package. In particular, it announced on April 21 that the tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons had been halted and the Phungeri nuclear test site had been closed.
But both Washington and Seoul - longtime treaty allies - cooperate closely and also confer with the North's larger neighbour China, which has a stake in the outcome.
Even so, risks remain, according to Abraham Denmark, an Asia expert and the former senior U.S. defense official. "We have a good understanding, and I think there is complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are".
KELLY: That's NPR's Michele Kelemen reporting from the State Department.
Fresh back from his trip to North Korea, Pompeo also described his time with the North Korean dictator, calling their conversations "warm" despite the leader's record of human rights abuses and his pursuit of nuclear weapons.
When the men arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland early Thursday, they were greeted by President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
"We're not under any illusions about who these people are".
Mike Pompeo noted the USA has often in history become good friends with former adversaries.
"We have a shared vision for what we hope when this process is completed the Korean Peninsula looks like", Pompeo said Friday.
When Trump and Kim do sit down, the two relatively untested leaders will be presented with a puzzle that has stymied seasoned diplomats for decades.
Kim will clearly be looking for some kind of victory of his own, and may seek concessions, such as ending the trade sanctions that have banned exports from North Korea, in exchange for tamping down his nuclear program.
North Korea has invited the outside world to witness the dismantling of its nuclear facilities before. Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Trump and Jong Un are likely to discuss several topics, but the highlight of the meet is set to be the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
In North Korea's bombastic rhetoric, "denuclearization" has, for years, been a byword for U.S. troop withdrawals from South Korea. Hardliners are likely see possession of a nuke as the only guarantee against US-led efforts to topple the regime.