The U.S. will not make the mistakes of the past and will ensure that a “robust” mechanism is set up to establish North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told press on Monday.
Speaking to press at the U.S. Television Pool press center in Singapore on the eve of a historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pompeo also insisted that CVID remained the only outcome his country would accept.
“Many Presidents have signed off on pieces of paper only to find out the North Koreans didn’t promise what we thought they had or that they reneged on their promises,” the Secretary of State said, adding that the “verification” element of CVID was all-important.
“We are going to ensure that we set up a system sufficiently robust that we are able to verify these outcomes, and it’s only once the ‘v’ happens that we’ll proceed apace,” he continued.
“At the end of the day both countries are going to need to come to have sufficient trust in each other in order to verify that we will provide the things that we commit to in the various documents that we sign.”
Any agreement with the North made in the coming days, the Secretary of State said, would have to see Pyongyang accept CVID – the “only” outcome the U.S. would accept.
“Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its weapons of mass destruction program,” he continued. “If diplomacy does not move in the right direction – and we are hopeful it will continue to do so – those measures will increase.”
But in an apparent opening to Kim Jong Un, Pompeo also said that the U.S. President “recognizes” the North Korean leader’s need for security guarantees before CVID can take place.
And ahead of any North Korean denuclearization, Pompeo continued, the U.S. was willing to “make the security assurances necessary for the North Koreans to engage in that denuclearization.”
“We’re willing to take action to convince them that denuclearization isn’t something that ends badly for them,” he said. “President Trump… is prepared to ensure that a North Korea free of weapons of mass destruction will also be a secure North Korea.”
The President was, in turn, open to expanding access to foreign investment and “other economic opportunities” for the DPRK “if they take the right steps,” he said.
The Secretary of State’s comments come amid a day of meetings between U.S. and North Korean officials – meetings he said were ongoing as of 1740 local time.
The two leaders are set to meet at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island at 0900 local time tomorrow.
Featured image: Mike Pompeo’s twitter account