By Lee Haye-ah
WASHINGTON, April 29 (Yonhap) -- The United States will continue to push for North Korea's denuclearization regardless of who leads the communist regime, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
The top U.S. diplomat told reporters at a press briefing that he had nothing to add on the intense speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be gravely ill.
"Our mission is the same, regardless of what transpires inside of North Korea with respect to their leadership," he said. "Our mission remains the same: it's to deliver on that agreement that Chairman Kim made with President Trump back in Singapore. And that's the fully denuclearized, verified denuclearization of North Korea."
Pompeo was referring to the first summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June 2018, during which the two sides agreed to "work toward" complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Despite two more meetings between Kim and Trump, North Korea and the U.S. have failed to make progress toward dismantling the regime's nuclear weapons program.
"We are still hopeful that we'll find a path to negotiate that solution to get the outcome that's good for the American people, good for the North Korean people and the whole world," Pompeo said. "Our mission simply won't change no matter what should transpire."
Asked if Kim's absence would make the mission harder to achieve, he said, "There's a lot of work to do on it. We're going to continue to focus on it."
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