Pompeo Talks Iran, North Korea, NATO in First News Conference

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(Bloomberg) -- New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he has “a sense” that Kim Jong Un is serious about denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and said no decision has been made on withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, as held his first news conference as America’s top diplomat.

Pompeo, speaking to reporters in Brussels on Friday less than 24 hours after being sworn in, echoed some of President Donald Trump’s favorite phrases, saying an agreement with Kim would be a “wonderful thing.” The former CIA director added that he knows previous attempts at securing a permanent peace on the Korean peninsula have failed.

Turning to another looming issue, Pompeo said there’s still time to address “the various flaws President Trump had identified for a while now” in the Iran nuclear deal ahead of a May 12 deadline the president set for deciding whether to pull out of the accord. Talks over the Iran deal will be high on Pompeo’s agenda when he meets leaders in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan in the coming days, he added.

After meeting with foreign ministers from other North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, Pompeo reiterated Trump’s call for the alliance to do more to fight terrorism and for member states to raise defense spending to 2 percent of GDP.

In a nod to how morale at the State Department plummeted under his predecessor Rex Tillerson, Pompeo said he met with U.S. diplomats based in Brussels and said he’s hopeful his agency “will get its swagger back.”

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