On Wednesday, Mr. Pompeo met for about an hour with Kim Yong-chol, to discuss the agenda and other details for the potential summit meeting.
Mr. Pompeo had told reporters accompanying him on the trip that he wanted to “sit with senior North Korean leaders and try and make a big move toward making sure we’re prepared for the summit.” He also said he wanted to convince the North Koreans that Mr. Trump would not repeat what he has called mistakes of the previous administrations.
“We are not going to relieve sanctions until such time as we achieved our objectives,” he said. “We are not going to do this in small increments, where the world is essentially coerced into relieving economic pressure.
“We’re hoping to set out that set of conditions that will give them this opportunity to have a historic, big change in the security relationship between North Korea and the United States, which will achieve what the president has tweeted about and talked about: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.”
If talks go well for Mr. Pompeo, Washington could soon announce the time and venue for the summit meeting.
But during a summit meeting this week between Mr. Kim and China’s president, Xi Jinping, Mr. Kim again hinted that he might have objections to Washington’s demand for a rapid dismantling of his nuclear arsenal. He urged the United States to abolish “hostile policies and remove security threats” against North Korea so that it no longer felt the need for a nuclear deterrent.
He proposed that North Korea and the United States take “phased and synchronous measures” in exchanging the North’s denuclearization with security guarantees and other incentives from the United States — an approach supported by China.