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Uncertainty Hangs Over Trump-Kim Summit, But Pompeo’s Positive ‘We’re Moving In The Right Direction’

The fate of President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remains uncertain, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is positive “we’re moving in the right direction.”

Pompeo met with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, a blacklisted North Korean general and the former spy chief, in New York Thursday for talks ahead of a potential summit between U.S. and North Korean leadership. After talks concluded, he was unable to say definitively whether or not the summit will take place.

Describing the talks as “substantive” and insisting the two sides made “progress,” Pompeo explained the U.S. and North Korean delegations presented their expectations for the meeting, with the U.S. side demanding the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” At this time, it remains unclear whether North Korea is willing to accept CVID (Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement).

Many experts remain skeptical, arguing CVID is simply not a real possibility.

“We expect both leaders to enter the summit in Singapore, if it proceeds, with their eyes wide open and with a clear understanding of the possibilities for the future,” Pompeo explained, potentially referring to earlier statements about a bright future for North Korea. “If these talks are successful, it will truly be historic. It will take bold leadership from Chairman Kim Jong Un if we are able to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the course for the world.”

Discussions with North Korea will be a process — one likely filled with challenges and obstacles — the secretary of state indicated. His comments reflect those made by the president hours earlier, suggesting one summit with Kim might not be enough to get the job done.

“This is going to a process that will take days and weeks to work our way through. There will be tough moments; there will be difficult times,” he explained.

The meeting comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at salvaging the summit the president canceled on May 24. In addition to the meeting in New York, U.S. officials are engaging their North Korean counterparts at the DMZ and in Singapore.

The North Korean delegation that met with the secretary of state in New York is expected to visit Washington, D.C., Friday, presumably to deliver a letter to Trump from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — perhaps a response to the letter the president had Pompeo deliver to Kim during a visit to North Korea.

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