U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said he hopes North Korea will take a different negotiating position should they return to working-level talks over their nuclear and weapons programs.
Speaking to Fox and Friends, Pompeo also indicated that Washington and Pyongyang continued to communicate, though did not announce a new date for the resumption of negotiations.
“So the State Department has had a number of conversations with the North Koreans. Chairman Kim committed to getting our teams back to the negotiating table,” Pompeo said.
“I hope that we will. I hope when they show up they take a position that’s different.”
The U.S. Secretary of State added that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had committed to denuclearization in Singapore during a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June last year.
“This is a simple task in the sense of Chairman Kim made a commitment. He put it in writing in Singapore,” Pompeo told the U.S. broadcaster.
“He said he was prepared to denuclearize. We’ve had a number of conversations … It’s time, it’s time to begin to deliver on that so that the North Korean people can, in fact, have that brighter future that President Trump has talked about now for a year and a half.”
But Pyongyang has given little public indication that it has changed its stance since talks fell apart at the second meeting between Trump and Kim in Vietnam last February.
And despite Trump and Kim meeting for a third time at the end of June and agreeing to restart talks, Pyongyang has continued to criticize Washington and even threatened to resume weapons testing.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the White House has no idea how to craft an effective North Korea strategy. Pyongyang is not going to put any more on the table until the U.S. puts real sanctions relief on the table,” Ken Gause, Director of, Adversary Analytics Program at CNA told NK News.
“Simply put, Trump’s advisors seem to be quite content with North Korea playing hardball because it ensures that the U.S. doesn’t have to take these negotiations too seriously. Negotiating with North Korea is not something that will play well domestically, especially during election season.”
Speaking later on Monday at the White House, Trump only answered vaguely to reporters questions regarding progress with Pyongyang.
The U.S. president told assembled reporters that interactions with Pyongyang were positive, though added that North Korea would negotiate when “when they’re ready.”
“There was a little correspondence recently. Very positive correspondence with North Korea,” Trump said.
Trump reiterated that Washington’s relationship with North Korea and Kim is “very good.”
The comments come as Pompeo’s tentative deadline for the resumption of working-level talks in mid-July seems to have lapsed, with neither Washington or Pyongyang offering any new announcements on getting the talks back on track.
But last week, the U.S. Secretary of State also said on multiple occasions that he was hopeful the working-level negotiations would resume in the near future.
Featured image: U.S. State Department