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(LEAD) Trump ready to provide security assurances to N. Korea: Pompeo

All Headlines 06:54 June 09, 2018

(ATTN: CLARIFIES para 9 to say remarks were made to Japanese broadcaster)

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump is ready to provide North Korea with the security assurances it seeks if the regime takes steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, the top U.S. diplomat said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said, however, that relief from economic sanctions will come only after the full denuclearization of the North.

Speaking in an interview with Hong Kong's Phoenix TV Thursday, Pompeo previewed the historic meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set to take place in Singapore Tuesday.

"President Trump has been very clear all along that he is prepared to provide North Korea with the security assurances, the warm political relationships that they want and are demanding in exchange for actions by North Korea, the denuclearization of the peninsula," he said.

"The exact timing and the exact modalities of that occurring are yet to be agreed to, but the president is willing to do something big, something bold. I think that Chairman Kim Jong-un is prepared to do that as well," he added.

This AFP file photo shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Yonhap)

While the U.S. has talked about offering economic and political incentives, little is known about what North Korea is willing to give up. Kim has reportedly expressed a willingness to denuclearize, but many are skeptical the regime will surrender a nuclear weapons program that took decades to build and on which it has staked its survival.

Pompeo said he is optimistic about the outcome of the summit, but refused to discuss details ahead of the negotiations.

He also declined to specify a timeline for North Korea's denuclearization, leaving the decision to Trump and Kim.

"There have been discussions around this very issue already," Pompeo said in a separate interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK Thursday. "We need to see how far we can get, how much progress can be made, in the hours that we have together in Singapore."

The first meeting is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. Trump has left open the possibility of additional meetings, including over several days, depending on how the talks go.

Pompeo made it clear that sanctions relief would come last in the implementation of any deal.

"Sanctions will not be lifted until such time as the denuclearization itself has been completed," he told Pheonix TV. "Look, we've been down the path before where promises have been made and not kept. That would be unacceptable; President Trump is not prepared to take that deal."

hague@yna.co.kr
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