“We very much hope to see further steps, more concrete steps toward denuclearization at the US-North Korea summit, so we’re not talking about sanctions relief at this point,” said South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at a joint press conference with her American counterpart Mike Pompeo at the US State Department in Washington on Friday, presstv.com wrote.
Her comments came just a day after US President Donald Trump announced that his highly-anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be held in Singapore on June 12.
North Korea has had controversial military nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which have so far drawn harsh sanctions from the US and the UN. On April 21, and in the midst of diplomacy with Seoul, Kim said he would be suspending the North’s nuclear and missile tests, and shut down a nuclear test site to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula, a move that attracted global praise.
In late April, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in a historic summit at the demarcation line and signed a joint declaration expressing their interest in the common goal of denuclearization.
North Korea says claims by the United States that sanctions and other pressure brought Pyongyang to the negotiating table can sabotage the prospect of dialog.
During the press conference on Friday, Pompeo promised that the North could look forward to “a future brimming with peace and prosperity” if it agreed to swiftly give up its nuclear weapons and “takes bold action to quickly denuclearize” the peninsula. He added that the US had a track record of support for the Korean people that was “second to none.”
The senior US diplomat, who returned from Pyongyang earlier this week with three Americans who had been held prisoner by North Korea, said their release had helped set conditions for a successful meeting between Trump and Kim.
This was Pompeo’s second meeting with the North’s leader in less than six weeks.
“We had good conversations, substantive conversations. Conversations that involved deep complex problems, challenges; the strategic decision that Chairman Kim has before him about how it is he wishes to proceed and if he is prepared, in exchange for the assurances we are ready to provide to him, if he is prepared to fully denuclearize,” Pompeo further said.
Last year, particularly after Pyongyang carried out its sixth and biggest nuclear test in September, a string of bellicose rhetoric was adopted by Trump and Kim against one another that raised fears of a new war on the Korean Peninsula.