SINGAPORE: United States President Donald Trump believes that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has an "unprecedented opportunity" to bring peace and prosperity to his country, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press briefing on Monday (Jun 11).
"President Trump believes that Kim Jong Un has an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity to his country," he told reporters at Singapore's JW Marriott Hotel.
"The fact that our two leaders are sitting down face-to-face is a sign of the enormous potential to accomplish something that will immensely benefit both of our peoples and the entire world."
Pompeo said that preparatory talks were advancing more quickly than expected on the eve of the historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore.
Their talks on Tuesday are expected to centre on ending the North's nuclear weapons and missile programmes in return for diplomatic and economic incentives.
Mr Pompeo added, however, that sanctions would remain unless North Korea completely and verifiably denuclearises.
"Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programmes," he said. "If diplomacy does not move in the right direction - and we are hopeful that it will continue to do so - those measures will increase.
"The complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept," he said.
The United States is willing to offer North Korea "unique" security guarantees if it embarks on such denuclearisation, he added.
"We will take actions to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them," said Mr Pompeo. "Just the opposite. That it leads to a brighter and better future for the North Korean people."
But he emphasised in response to reporters' questions that the "V" matters, referring to the acronym for the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of North Korea.
"We're going to ensure that we set up a system sufficiently robust that we're able to verify these outcomes, and it's only once the 'V' happens that we will proceed apace."
Mr Pompeo also thanked Singapore for hosting the summit.
Singapore "is a longstanding commercial partner, and we thank them for their help in making this summit what it is," he said.
Mr Trump is fully prepared for the meeting with North Korea's leader on Tuesday, added Mr Pompeo.
Both leaders are scheduled to meet at Sentosa's Capella hotel on Tuesday. This will be the first time a sitting US president and a North Korean leader will meet face to face.
Mr Trump met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier on Monday at the Istana, where the two held a bilateral meeting. Mr Lee also hosted a working lunch for Mr Trump and his delegation.
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