U.S. Department Of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
June 14, 2018
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s truly an honor to be here in Seoul standing with Foreign Minister Kang and Foreign Minister Kono. It is an incredibly pivotal moment in history following on the historic summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un. The trilateral cooperation among the United States, South Korea, and Japan has been crucial to the effectiveness regarding our efforts regarding – regarding our efforts related to the denuclearization of North Korea, and it was certainly key to our opportunity for the summit in Singapore.
The discussions we held today amongst the three of us reflect our three countries’ commitment to continue working together towards the ultimate success of this effort. Today, the foreign minister and I discussed the outcome of President Trump’s summit with Chairman Kim Jong-un and the importance of staying closely coordinated throughout the entire process of denuclearization.
The President’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un two days ago does indeed mark a turning point in the U.S.-North Korea relationship. Kim Jong-un’s public commitment to completely denuclearize is an important step towards bringing lasting peace and stability to Northeast Asia and indeed to the entire world.
As the President said, this will be a process and not an easy one. Staying closely aligned with our allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan, will be critical to the success of that outcome. The world should rest assured that the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan remain committed to achieving the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea. The U.S. alliances with these two countries are absolutely ironclad. Minister Kang and Minister Kono and I have developed a close friendship, and together we will continue to closely coordinate with respect to North Korea as we move forward together.
President Trump has also made it clear that if Kim Jong-un denuclearizes, there is a bright future for North Korea and its people. He outlined that vision beautifully here in Seoul when he spoke at the national assembly last November. We envision a strong, connected, secure, and prosperous North Korea that is fully integrated within the community of nations. Kim Jong-un indicated in Singapore that he shared that vision. We are eager to see him take the next steps to achieve it because the United States is ready for a new chapter in our history. Thank you.
First, there is not any difference between the three ministers and our leaders up here with respect to how we are going to address the denuclearization of North Korea. The agreement that was signed made very clear that this would be the complete denuclearization and made express reference and incorporated into that the very well-done document, the Panmunjom Declaration, which itself incorporates all previous agreements between inter-Korean agreements. I think that’s important as we come to understand the agreement that was signed between the United States and North Korea.
What happened in Singapore created an enormous opportunity, and when we refer to the mistakes of the past they were providing economic and financial relief before the complete denuclearization had taken place. That is not going to happen. President Trump made that clear not only in his press conference, but made it clear when he was with Chairman Kim Jong-un himself, that the sequence will be different this time. That’s important. It is central to the understanding.
You suggested that there was some risk that the clock would run out and that they would delay. We believe that Chairman Kim Jong-un understands the urgency of the timing of completing this denuclearization, that he understands that we must do this quickly, and that sanctions relief – we should recall these are UN sanctions – that sanctions relief cannot take place until such time as we have demonstrated that North Korea has been completely denuclearized.
The summit created this enormous historic opportunity for us to move forward together and fundamentally reshape the relationship between the United States and North Korea. Verification is central to that. Complete denuclearization certainly encompasses that idea very clearly. And I know each of the three of us leaders here today are tasked with making sure that we implement that in a way that is as quick and as complete as we can achieve over the coming days and weeks.