Pompeo Unsure Whether Trump-Kim Summit Will Take Place

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed uncertainty on Thursday regarding the planned June 12 summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, saying he doesn’t know whether it will happen.

Pompeo spoke to reporters in New York after holding two meetings with North Korean officials and asserted the two sides have made progress toward a successful meeting in Singapore between Trump and Kim, but that challenges remain.

“We’ve made real progress in the last 72 hours in terms of setting the conditions for a successful summit,” Pompeo said. But, he added, “make no mistake about it, there remains a great deal of work to do.”

He reiterated that the two delegations were moving “in the right direction” and that they were at a pivotal moment when it would be “tragic to let this opportunity go to waste.”

The difficulty in overcoming differences between Pyongyang and Washington is another roadblock and adds to the uncertainty. Some even went further to speculate that the summit will likely not happen.

Harry Kazianis, director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, said that “after listening to Secretary Pompeo” he was under the impression that North Korea was unwilling to denuclearize, a precondition for the summit to take place.

However, President Trump noted that meetings in New York with the North Korean delegation had gone “very well.” He added that the delegation was expected to travel to Washington on Friday to deliver him “a letter from Kim Jong-un.”

“These are all positive signs. Everything that’s happened since Trump threatened to cancel the summit, these are all positive signs,” said Joel Wit, co-founder of 38 North, a website that tracks North Korea.

Pompeo, however, made clear that for the summit to happen, Pyongyang “must do things they haven’t done before,” a senior State Department official said, adding “we are looking for something historic…something that has never been done before.”

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