Interview With Hideki Yui of NHK
Secretary of State
QUESTION: So first of all, in principle, what’s your hope for the U.S.-North Korean foreign summit, and how confident are you that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will accept the same definition of denuclearization of the U.S., which is CVID?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’ve had the chance to meet with Chairman Kim Jong-un, and I have also been working on this for a long time, as have many members of the United States Government. Our objective for the summit is very clear: We want to achieve a fundamentally different strategic relationship between our two countries. We are – we believe it’s important to (inaudible) completely denuclearize North Korea.
In exchange for that, we’re prepared to do things that provide them the security assurances that they need and the warmer political relationship that they need as well. We’re hoping to make just as much progress on that as we can during the summit, and we believe that the two leaders sitting down together offers the world a great opportunity.
QUESTION: What kind of actions for denuclearization will you expect that Mr. Kim will commit at the summit?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we’ll have to see. We don’t know how far the two leaders will be able to get. We are optimistic, though, having had a chance to work – we’ve had teams working in Panmunjom. We’ve had teams working in Singapore. We’ve been in communications back and forth between our two governments for many, many months now. So we’ve been working to lay a foundation so that the two leaders can get as far as they can in the time that they have together.
QUESTION: What’s your vision for the timeline of the denuclearization?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, I don’t want to talk about timelines. The two leaders will certainly discuss that. There have been discussions around this very issue already. We need to see how far we can get, how much progress can be made, in the hours that we have together in Singapore.
QUESTION: But do you think that Mr. Kim has already made a strategic decision to abandon all nuclear weapons?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, this is why the two leaders are meeting, right? Chairman Kim told me directly that he was prepared to sit with President Trump and talk about how that denuclearization would take place. The two of them will have a chance to have an extensive conversation surrounding that. So we’ll leave plenty of space for the two leaders to move forward and for them each to make decisions about how their country (inaudible).
Chairman Kim’s got to make a big strategic decision. He has historically believed that his nuclear program provided security for his country, and to shift that to believe that security will come from a good relationship with the United States and the world is a big shift. We’re very hopeful that he’ll see it the way our President does. Our President is firmly prepared to make sure that Chairman Kim and the North Korean people will live in (inaudible) and with the security assurances that they are demanding.
QUESTION: So what kind of security assurances will you be prepared to offer Kim Jong-un? Are you making a peace deal?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So the presidents – the two leaders are going to talk. We’re not going to talk about the details of the negotiating. We’re not going to negotiate in advance of it. We’ll let the two leaders get together, and they’ll begin to flesh out what both the security assurances will look like, what we can do together politically to provide better relations between our two countries, and then talk about denuclearizations.
QUESTION: How about the economic assistance? President Trump made a statement that it will be China – Japan, China, South Korea will provide economic assistance. How is it important for denuclearization, having the Japanese economic assistance?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So it’s very important, and these concepts are incredibly linked. For North Korea to have the security assurances it needs, it needs to know that it has an economic – economically viable path forward. It has to know that its people can eat and that they can have the wealth that the North Korean people so richly deserve. So these are very closely linked issues; it’s difficult to separate them out. And so not only Japan, but South Korea, China – I imagine many nations will want to participate in the North Korean economy if we are successful in Singapore.
QUESTION: But Japanese Government is saying that they are not ready to provide economic assistance until all issues are resolved, such as the abductee issue. At what point do you expect Japan to provide economic assistance?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So, much like the economic opening that will take place, it will only take place at such time as we have completed the denuclearization. So there are other things that can go along in parallel, but the economic relief, the sanctions relief that President Trump spoke about earlier today, can’t take place until we see real action, real change, on the part of North Korea. And the Japanese economic support wouldn’t come until that was – that had occurred as well.
MS NAUERT: Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much, sir.