Pompeo Says Kim Told Him ‘Half a Dozen Times’ He’ll Denuclearize

(Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has promised to eliminate his nuclear weapons program on at least six occasions and that now “we need to figure out how to do it.”

“The whole world understands the threat that Chairman Kim’s nuclear weapons present to the world,” Pompeo said Tuesday in an interview with KRIV television in Houston. “Chairman Kim’s now committed to giving them up. He said he would denuclearize. He’s told me that face-to-face, personally, no less than half a dozen times.”

Pompeo Says Kim Told Him ‘Half a Dozen Times’ He’ll Denuclearize

Asked why the top U.S. diplomat, who previously led the Central Intelligence Agency, would believe assurances from Kim, Pompeo said “talk is cheap.”

“What we’ll need to see is action, and that’s what we’re counting on, and it’s what I’m hopeful we’ll get in the months ahead,” Pompeo replied.

The comments come after Kim’s recent summit with Donald Trump in Hanoi ended early after the U.S. president said the North Korean leader asked for U.S. sanctions to be lifted in exchange for the dismantling of the country’s main nuclear complex. Two days later, new images showed that North Korea was rebuilding a long-range rocket site.

Despite North Korea’s long history of failing to keep promises to dismantle its nuclear weapons program -- and continued disagreement between both sides over what the term “denuclearization” even means -- Trump said he’d unhappy if the reports are accurate.

“I would be very disappointed if that were happening,” Trump told reporters at the White House on March 7. “It is a very early report -- we are the ones who put it out -- but I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.