Pompeo Announces He Will Head to North Korea Next Week

Mike Pompeo / Getty Images
August 23, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday that he will make another visit to North Korea next week.

Pompeo will travel with newly appointed special representative to North Korea, Stephen Biegun. Biegun was a member of former President George W. Bush's National Security Council and is currently an executive for Ford Motor Company.

Biegun repeated to reporters the Trump administration's stance on North Korea.

"The issues are tough and they will be tough to resolve," Biegun said. "But the president has created an opening and it’s one that we must take by seizing every possible opportunity to realize the vision for a peaceful future for the people of North Korea. This begins with the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed by Chairman Kim Jong Un at the summit with President Trump in Singapore."

Last time Pompeo visited the country was in early July where he discussed moving forward on denuclearization. Pompeo called the talks productive, while the North Koreans took a different tone and criticized the U.S. for its "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization."

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un held a historic summit in Singapore prior to that, in June. In the wake of the Trump-Kim summit, Trump claimed North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat to the United States. Kim has yet to dispose of the country's nuclear weapons or its ballistic missiles that have the ability to strike the United States.

National Security Adviser John Bolton revealed earlier this month that North Korea had yet to begin the denuclearization process.

"We're waiting for the North Koreans to begin the process of denuclearization, which they committed to in Singapore and which they've not yet done," Bolton said.

The State Department has indicated the process is one that "will certainly take some time." Spokeswoman Heather Nauert spoke about the progress earlier this month following Pompeo's travel to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Singapore.

"The secretary spoke about this just on Sunday and said the process of achieving denuclearization is one that we have all known will take some time," she said, "The world is united in seeing this achieved, so it will certainly take some time."

Trump became the first U.S. president to meet face-to-face with a North Korean head of state during the summit. The Trump administration has pushed for North Korea to denuclearize while promising security and prosperity in return.