Ahead of North Korean summit, Pompeo confronted over Trump’s claim nation isn’t a nuclear threat
President Donald Trump says his second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week will be “very exciting,” but says he has “no pressing timetable” on Pyongyang giving up its nuclear weapons as long as there isn’t any testing. (Feb. 19)
WASHINGTON – Just days before President Donald Trump is set to meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was confronted about a claim the president made after the first summit.
Pompeo, while appearing on CNN Sunday morning, was asked whether North Korea was considered a nuclear threat to the U.S. “Yes,” he told host Jake Tapper.
“But the president said he doesn’t,” Tapper replied.
“That’s not what he said,” Pompeo replied. “I know precisely –”
“He tweeted, ‘There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea,’ ” Tapper said, looking down to read a tweet from the president in June.
Pompeo, shaking his head, said the president was saying there was a lot of progress made that “substantially” lowered the nuclear risk between the U.S. and North Korea after the leaders met last June in Singapore, the first time a North Korean leader and an American president have met.
“What he said was the efforts made in Singapore, this commitment that Chairman Kim made, have substantially taken down the risk to the American people,” Pompeo explained. “It’s the mission of the secretary of State and the president of the United States to keep American people secure. We’re aiming to achieve that.”
Tapper followed up: ‘OK, I mean that’s just a direct quote, but I want to move on.”
Trump made the claim in June after returning to the U.S. from his meeting with the North Korean leader.
“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
Kim and Trump are set to hold their second summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The president took to Twitter on Sunday, teasing what he will discuss with Kim and what he hopes to come of their second meeting.
“Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!”
In another tweet, Trump wrote that he would be leaving early Monday for Vietnam, where “we both expect a continuation of the progress made at first Summit in Singapore. Denuclearization?”
At their first summit, Kim pledged to eliminate his country’s nuclear weapons programs, but some U.S. officials say North Korea has yet to take concrete, verifiable steps to that end. The U.S. is looking for firmer commitments at the Vietnam summit. North Korea, meanwhile, wants the United States and other countries to start reducing economic sanctions before it makes major changes to its nuclear program.
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