U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he will not put a timeline on negotiations with North Korea, but the U.S. will instead “constantly reassess” the regime’s commitment to denuclearization as the two countries seek to implement a bilateral agreement signed at a historic summit in Singapore, CNN reports.
“I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,” Pompeo said in an interview Sunday. “We hope that we will have an ongoing process of making progress.”
Pompeo’s comments contrast with those of a senior U.S. defense official who, ahead of a trip by Secretary of Defense James Mattis to Asia, said the U.S. would be presenting a timeline of “specific asks” to North Korea soon.
“We’ll know pretty soon if they’re going to operate in good faith or not,” the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. “There will be specific asks and there will be a specific timeline when we present the North Koreans with our concept of what implementation of the summit agreement looks like.”
Further details of the timeline were not disclosed, but the official indicated it would be quick enough to assess Pyongyang’s commitment to its agreement with the U.S. at the June 12 summit.
At the summit, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, Kim promised “major change” and agreed to work toward “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula. In exchange, the U.S. indicated it would halt joint military exercises with South Korea, which the North views as practice for an invasion.
“The President was clear,” Pompeo said to CNN in reference to the suspension of military exercises, “Each of the actions we have taken, his decision to suspend the high level war games, it’s only so long as there is a good faith negotiation progress, productive results being achieved. If we can’t do that, if it turns out that there is no capacity to deliver the outcome that both presidents said they wanted, yeah, we reassess.”
Earlier this month in Seoul, Pompeo said he would take a leading role in the negotiation process with North Korea and that sanctions would remain on the country until complete denuclearization is achieved. Pompeo had earlier said that he wants Pyongyang to fully denuclearize by the end of Trump’s current presidential term in 2020, CNN reports.