Washington: U.S. officials on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying the move was not just for show and not a gift to Pyongyang, as one senator insisted.
“President Trump isn’t doing this for theater. He’s going to solve a problem,” said Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.
The United States expects North Korea to halt all nuclear and missile testing in advance of any meeting, according to Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who also spoke on a Sunday morning TV program.
The goal of the meeting remains de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, something Kim has agreed to discuss, they noted. Pompeo said U.S. military exercises in the region will continue in the lead-up to the talks.
The Republican president agreed on Thursday to accept an invitation from the North Korean leader to meet by May after months of escalating tensions over Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear and missile programs.
Trump would become the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a leader of the reclusive country after having exchanged insults. Trump called Kim “Little Rocket Man” and Kim referred to Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”
On Saturday, Trump said his meeting could fizzle without an agreement or could result in “the greatest deal for the world,” with a de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
No venue or date for the meeting has been determined.