U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, attends a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, second from right, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, second from left, at Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June14, 2018. (Chung Sung-Jun/Pool Photo via AP)

The Latest: Pompeo links denuclearizing to sanctions relief

June 13, 2018 - 11:13 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (all times local):

11:05 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there will be no sanctions relief for North Korea until it denuclearizes.

Pompeo is pushing back on a report from North Korean official state media that said President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un had agreed to a "step-by-step" process. That was interpreted as meaning the U.S. would grant concessions to North Korea concessions along the way despite longstanding U.S. insistence that it would not.

Pompeo says Trump has been "incredibly clear" about the sequencing of the process.

Speaking alongside Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers in Seoul, Pompeo says that "we're going to get denuclearization." He says that "only then will there be relief from the sanctions."

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11:10 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says President Donald Trump's comment about North Korea no longer posing a nuclear threat was made "with eyes wide open."

Pompeo is meeting with the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers in Seoul. He's defending Trump's tweet just after returning from Singapore in which he said the world can "sleep well tonight" and that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."

Pompeo says Trump was referring to the fact that for the first time in history, a U.S. president sat down with a North Korean leader. He says Trump and Kim Jong Un had a "blunt conversation" about changes needed for North Korea to rejoin the world community.

Pompeo also says that Trump was "unequivocal" with Kim about the need for North Korea to return abductees from Japan seized by the North in the 1970s and 1980s.

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11:05 p.m.

The top diplomats from the United States, Japan and South Korea are discussing the North Korean nuclear threat and U.S. diplomacy with Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Seoul. The three posed for photos before sitting with their delegations at three tables arranged in a U-shaped formation.

They ignored a shouted question from an American journalist about President Donald Trump's decision to halt joint U.S.-South Korean military drills.

The three-way meeting comes as U.S. allies and South Korea seek more details about Trump's unprecedented nuclear summit with Kim in Singapore on Tuesday and what's next for U.S. nuclear negotiations with the North.

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11 p.m.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says Japan will take steps to try to set up a meeting between Japan's prime minister and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Kono said Thursday that talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would only happen if there is prospect for resolution of the issues of both North Korea's nuclear program and abduction of Japanese kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

He spoke after a meeting in Seoul with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. Pompeo flew to Seoul from Singapore to brief the two U.S. allies on the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week.

North Korea kidnapped Japanese to help train spies among other reasons.

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9:40 p.m.

South Korea's top diplomat is telling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that this is a chance to "seize the momentum toward peace, denuclearization."

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha spoke in English on Thursday as she met with Pompeo in Seoul at South Korea's foreign affairs ministry.

The two shook hands in front of American and South Korean flags before sitting down for their meeting.

Pompeo was briefing South Korea on the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week in Singapore.

Pompeo is accompanied by senior adviser Michael McKinley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of Alex Wong, and the top U.S. diplomat in South Korea, Mark Knapper.

Later, Kang and Pompeo plan a three-way meeting about North Korea with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

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9:30 p.m.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says President Donald Trump's nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un has helped move the region "from the era of hostility towards the era of dialogue, of peace and prosperity."

Moon met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Seoul on Thursday. Pompeo is briefing U.S. allies South Korea and Japan on the summit earlier this week in Singapore.

Moon says he appreciated Trump's phone call during the president's flight back from Singapore to Washington.

He says through a translator he wants to hear how the parties can "fully and expeditiously implement this great agreement."

Pompeo says he's confident "we took a very good, significant step in Singapore."

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8:40 p.m.

The rival Koreas are holding rare high-level military talks to discuss reducing tensions across their heavily fortified border following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump.

It's possible North Korean officials during Thursday's talks will seek a firm commitment from the South on stopping military drills with the United States.

Trump said after his summit with Kim on Tuesday that the joint military exercises should stop. South Korea has said it's trying to discern Trump's meaning and intent.

Seoul's Defense Ministry says the military talks will focus on carrying out agreements from a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in which they vowed to take steps to reduce military tensions and eliminate the danger of war.

They may also discuss efforts to recover the remains of Korean War soldiers.

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6:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is stretching credulity at home and abroad by declaring there is "no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea" after his summit with Kim Jong Un.

But Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, cautioned that the U.S. would resume military exercises with close ally South Korea if the North stops negotiating in good faith. The president had announced a halt in the drills after his meeting with Kim on Tuesday.

The summit in Singapore marked a sea change from last fall, when North Korea was conducting nuclear and missile tests, and Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults that stoked fears of war. Kim is now promising to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

But the details have yet to be settled.

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11:30 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he's confident that U.S. talks with North Korea will resume "sometime in the next week."

Pompeo says he doesn't know the exact timing. Speaking in Seoul, he says he expects it to happen fairly quickly after he and the North Koreans return to their nations. Pompeo returns late Thursday to the U.S.

He says President Donald Trump is "in the lead" but that "I will be the person who takes the role of driving this process forward."

He says much more work has been done by the U.S. and North Korean that couldn't be encapsulated in the Trump-Kim Jong Un statement. So he says teams will now work to make more progress on those items.

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11:20 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States wants North Korea to take major nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years.

Pompeo is laying out an ambitious timeline for denuclearization following President Donald Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un. He says he won't disclose specific timelines but that the administration is hopeful that "major, major disarmament" steps can occur before the end of Trump's first term. The term ends in January 2021.

Pompeo is also urging skepticism after North Korean official media said Trump had agreed to a step-by-step approach to denuclearization. Pompeo isn't being specific but says that "one should heavily discount some things that are written in other places."

Pompeo spoke to reporters from Seoul, South Korea.

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11:15 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un understands that "there will be in-depth verification" of nuclear commitments in any deal with the U.S.

Pompeo is pushing back on criticism that the joint agreement signed by Kim and President Donald Trump includes no mention of verifying North Korean nuclear disarmament. Ahead of Trump's summit with Kim, the U.S. had said disarmament must be "complete, verifiable and irreversible."

But Pompeo tells reporters that it's silly to focus on the lack of the word "verifiable." He says that's because the agreement does refer to "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Pompeo says that "in the minds of everyone concerned," the word "complete" encompasses "verifiable."

Pompeo says: "I am equally confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification."

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11:10 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises will resume if North Korea stops negotiating in good faith over its nuclear program.

Pompeo is in South Korea a day after President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong Un and announced the U.S. would freeze what he called "war games" with North Korea.

Pompeo says he was there when Trump talked about it with Kim. He says Trump "made very clear" that the condition for the freeze was that good-faith talks continue. He says if the U.S. concludes they no longer are in good faith, the freeze "will no longer be in effect."

Pompeo says Trump was "unambiguous" in conveying that to Kim.

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11 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says President Donald Trump should be "applauded" for his meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. But Ryan is cautioning on Wednesday that the next steps toward an agreement won't go fast.

The Wisconsin Republican, who is retiring this year, told reporters that "The president needed to disrupt the status quo, and the president has disrupted the status quo" with the historic meeting in Singapore. He said "the president should be applauded....Now let's go get an agreement."

Trump and Kim signed a joint statement that contained a repeat of past promises to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, but the details haven't been nailed down.

He cautioned that no one should expect that process to go quickly. "Time," he said, "will tell how this ends."

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10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is challenging skeptical media coverage of his historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. He says "Fake News" is the nation's "biggest enemy."

Trump writes on Twitter that "the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN" are "fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea."

Trump says that "500 days ago they would have 'begged' for this deal-looked like war would break out."

The president says the country's "biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!"

Trump has been tweeting about his talks with Kim since Air Force One returned to the United States early Wednesday morning, arguing that the talks with North Korea have made the U.S. safer. Trump's claim is dubious considering Pyongyang's significant weapons arsenal.

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7:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his calls to end military exercises with South Korea that allies have said is important to security in the Asia Pacific region.

Trump says on Twitter after returning from his Singapore summit that "we save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith."

Trump has said the U.S. and South Korea should stop their joint military exercises as long as both sides are negotiating in good faith, which the president says is happening.

Back in the United States, Trump is tweeting about his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea even though experts estimate that Kim's government has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs.

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6:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says on Twitter, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea," as he returns to the United States after his historic summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump says on Twitter that "everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office."

He says before he took office, "people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea," and President Barack Obama said North Korea was the nation's biggest problem.

Trump and Kim signed an agreement to work toward denuclearization, but it appears weaker than past deals that failed. Independent experts estimate North Korea now has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs, and it has tested missiles that could potentially deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland.

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5:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived back in Washington from his historic nuclear summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning, completing the president's marathon trip to Asia for talks with the North Korean leader. The president made refueling stops in Guam and Hawaii on his return to Washington.

While his aircraft refueled in Hawaii, Trump thanked Kim for "taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people," saying their summit on Tuesday "proves that real change is possible!"

During his return, Trump spoke with South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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