12 May, 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dangled the prospect of a far brighter future for North Korea if leader Kim Jong Un abandons his nation's nuclear weapons program after a summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore next month.
He's speaking the day after he returned from Pyongyang with three American detainees released by North Korea.
The return of prisoners the US has called "hostages" clears an obstacle to direct talks between Trump and Kim.
"Normalizing diplomatic relations with Japan is an extremely important step for North Korea to tread a right path in the worldwide community", Abe said on a TV program, stressing he hopes Kim will not be satisfied only with holding talks with the US and South Korean presidents.
Abe also said global sanctions should remain in place against North Korea and any rewards must wait until Kim fully abandons his nuclear and missile programs.
Pompeo said Friday that North Korea would need to have a "complete" and "verifiable" denuclearization.
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"We had good conversations about the histories of our two nations, the challenges that we have had between us", Mr Pompeo told reporters at a news conference with South Korea's visiting foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha.
North Korea has long seen its nuclear program as key to its survival, and it's not certain how honest Kim Jong-un is about giving up his nuclear arsenal. "We have a good understanding, and I think there is complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are".
And Pompeo said the United States would remain on board to help develop the North's economy, which has been devastated by its own mismanagement and crippling global sanctions.
"We're very clear that the sanctions remain in place until and unless we see visible meaningful action taken by North Korea on the denuclearization track".
Regarding the question about Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's visit to China on Sunday, Shuang said the two countries have maintained close communication and exchanges.
Any deal will also "require a robust verification program", Pompeo said, although it's hard to underscore how difficult that process would be. North Korea often makes extreme claims about defectors, accusing the South of kidnapping them or describing them as fleeing after committing freaky crimes. "I said, 'Welcome home.' He said, 'God bless America, '" said State Department official Brian Hook, who was with Pompeo in North Korea.
To the USA, that means the North giving up the nuclear weapons it has already built.