SECRETARY POMPEO: Go ahead. You all saw it. I don’t need to tell you about the story, but what do you all want to talk about?
QUESTION: Well, when talks resume, where do you – what’s the next step? Where do you start? Would you start where you left off or —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, so I think so. And so I think one of the things that hadn’t been written about is even in Hanoi we’d made progress, all right? And so we think we do have a jumping-off point for these discussions, which have put us in a place where we can truly evaluate if there is a clear path forward. I’ve been listening to Chairman Kim today. I think there is. Steve will be leading the exercise. We’ll have the foreign ministry as our counterpart. I don’t know exactly who from the foreign ministry, but it’s likely to be one of a couple people.
And it’ll happen – I guess it’s the end of the June still – yep, this month, starting tomorrow. So sometime in July, probably in the next two or three weeks, probably around the middle of the month would be my guess, at a place yet to be determined. But the teams will gather and they’ll start working. They’ll start exchanging ideas.
We were hopeful – I think I’d said to some of you, or maybe I said it from the podium a few weeks back – we thought there might be this opportunity. And the President, by getting together with Chairman Kim today, broke through and was able to get us the opportunity to get back to the negotiating table, which I’m excited about. It’s good for North Korea; it’s good for America, good for the world.
QUESTION: Wasn’t that a gamble, the way he did it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It worked. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what did you hear from Chairman Kim that makes you think they’re ready to deal?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I don’t want to say too much about that. I’ll leave the President to talk about the substance of the conversation since it was, from the American side, just he and I in the meeting. I’ll leave it to him to talk about the things he didn’t share already.
But I left there with the recognition, I think, that Chairman Kim really wants to get something done, something very significant, that we want to do so in a timely way. The President said we’re in no hurry. I think that’s true.
QUESTION: In no hurry?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
SECRETARY POMPEO: The President said that repeatedly. I think Chairman Kim shares that view. But we’ll proceed with – what’s the – what was it? – all deliberate speed (inaudible).
MS ORTAGUS: Jennifer.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did you reach any sort of working shared agreement on denuclearization to move forward (inaudible)?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We didn’t, but we’ve worked on this on a lot so we’re not at square one. We have a sense of their expectations and for a range of ways this might move forward. This is what conversations and dialogue are about. We don’t know what path it’ll head down. But it’s not the case that we’re where we were – goodness, Steve, when did you start
BIEGUN: A year ago.
SECRETARY POMPEO: A year ago. We’re not where we were 12 months ago. We’re further along than that.
QUESTION: Can you say in what ways has this changed?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No.
MS ORTAGUS: Charlie, do you have anything?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I mean I can, but I’m not going to. (Laughter.)
MS ORTAGUS: Charlie, do you have anything? You good?
QUESTION: Do I? (Laughter.) I’m good. I’m good..
SECRETARY POMPEO: All right.
QUESTION: Sir, do you think that it became clear to the North Koreans that the State Department and you are in charge, since they have tried to get you to step aside? Do you think that anything happened today made clear that you’re running these negotiations?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So far as I know, President Trump has always had me in charge of them. And as the President said to Chairman Kim, they get to choose who will negotiate on their behalf, and Chairman Kim (inaudible) you obviously get to choose who’s going to run the negotiations for you as well.
QUESTION: And both agreed on that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: Is the policy that the sanctions will still stay in place?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes.
QUESTION: On China, how did you take the meeting – the President’s meeting with Xi Jinping and the decision to hold off the – I mean, I know trade isn’t exactly squarely in your wheelhouse, but do you get a sense that things are sort of going to move ahead fairly quickly here?
SECRETARY POMPEO: “Fairly quickly” is a danger. And I always – when someone is in a negotiation, I always try to give them enough space.
But the majority of the meeting with Chairman Kim did revolve around trade – or, I’m sorry, with President Xi – did revolve around trade. That’s absolutely true. And I think there you had Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin both in the meeting. Each of them feels like they can get back at it as well.
And the President – I think the President wants to get a deal, right? I think he very much wants to do that. And I think you saw that in the way that it proceeded with the President agreeing not to put the additional tariffs on, at least for a period of time while they’re still good-faith trying to get to the finish line.
MS ORTAGUS: All right. You two good?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thanks, everybody.