Washington, D.C. — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is en route to Pyongyang to continue preparations for the President’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Trump announced Tuesday.
“The location is picked, the time and date, everything is picked and we look forward to having a great success,” the president said of the historic upcoming summit.
Pompeo told reporters traveling with him to North Korea Tuesday that his first matter of business will be to discuss with North Korean leaders the plight of three American citizens being detained by the rogue regime. Although Pompeo said he could not guarantee that North Korea would be willing to cooperate he said he hopes officials would be willing to “do the right thing”.
“We’ve been asking for the release of these detainees for 17 months,” Pompeo said. “We’ll talk about it again. It’d be a great gesture if they’d agree to do so.”
Asked by reporters Tuesday if North Korean officials had indicated they would be open to negotiating a release, Trump replied” “We’ll all soon be finding out. It would be a great thing if they are.”
Pompeo, who has already traveled to North Korea to meet with Jong-un said he is cautiously optimistic but will remain firm in protecting America’s interests.
“The second piece is, we also want to make sure what our expectations are not,” said Pompeo, aboard a C-32A. “We are not going to head down the path we headed down before.”
“We will not relieve sanctions until such time as we have achieved our objectives,” he added. “We’re not going to do this in small increments, where the world is coerced into relieving economic pressures.”
It remains unclear whether Pompeo will meet directly with Jong-un on this trip or other high ranking North Korean officials, but Pompeo says the topics at hand, not the person in charge is his priority at this point.
“We’re prepared to meet anyone who can speak on behalf of the North Korean government and give us solid answers so we’re prepared,” he said.
The president broke the news on Pompeo’s second round of negotiations while announcing his plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.