The Trump administration is working on a second summit between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“There’s still a little bit of work to do left to make sure that the conditions are right and that the two leaders are put in the position where we could make substantial progress,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News. “I’m hoping I’ll be back in Pyongyang before too long to make some more progress. And if that’s the case, I’m very hopeful that Chairman Kim and President Trump will get a chance to meet in the near future as well.”
Last month, Secretary Pompeo canceled what would have been his fourth trip to Pyongyang, citing insufficient progress by North Korea in dismantling its nuclear weapons program. This week, the State Department revealed Kim had agreed to the “denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021.”
The secretary refused to set a deadline on what the United States wants North Korea to accomplish by the end of this year.
Next week, Pompeo and President Trump will travel to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly. This morning, the president tweeted: “I will Chair the United Nations Security Council meeting on Iran next week!”
The Trump administration is restoring the sanctions it once lifted as part of the Iran-nuclear agreement. In May, the U.S. left the deal. Germany, France and Great Britain are trying to hold the agreement together, encouraging and helping its companies conduct business with Iran despite U.S. sanctions.
Pompeo indicated those efforts would be ineffective.
“If you just watch the traffic, it’s one way. Folks are leaving Iran, including European businesses,” he said. “I am very confident that we will ultimately be effective in enforcing the sanctions that President Trump has asked us to re-impose.”
The secretary also forecast continued pressure on Venezuela and the economic and humanitarian crisis there.
“I think you’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people,” said Pompeo. “We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say.”
Pompeo refused to say whether the administration will impose more sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s administration or if the Trump administration believes Maduro should step aside.
“However it happens is the outcome that will be chosen by the Venezuelan people, and I think they understand that Maduro has not been someone who has taken care to ensure that the best interest of the Venezuelan people are actually reflected in their governmental policy,” he said.
Pompeo also said the State Department continues urging Turkey to release American pastor Andrew Brunson and that there are “conversations, great frequency, multiple levels” between the two countries.
“Can’t comment on any particular details, only this: we have made clear that Pastor Brunson and the others that the Turkish government is holding with no basis for having detained them need to come home,” he said.
Domestically, Pompeo said the U.S. is focused on combating efforts to interfere in elections, especially from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and non-state groups.
“I think we are in a place,” Pompeo said, “that we have never been before in terms of our preparedness.”