WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea faces "a future brimming with peace and prosperity" if it gives up its nuclear weapons soon, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday as the two countries prepare for a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
"If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends," Pompeo told a news conference after talks with his South Korean counterpart in Washington.
"If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity for the North Korean people," he said.
Pompeo, who returned from Pyongyang this week with three American prisoners who had been held by North Korea, said the release of men had helped set conditions for a successful meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore on June 12.
Pompeo said he had "good, substantive" conversations with Kim in Pyongyang and believed both sides understood the ultimate goal of the summit.
Pompeo said the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would however require "robust verification" programme by the United States and other countries.
"It's a big undertaking for sure, but one that Chairman Kim and I had the opportunity to have a good, sound discussion on, so that I think we had a pretty good understanding between our two countries what the shared objectives are," Pompeo said.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stressed that sanctions against Pyongyang would not be lifted until it had taken concrete steps to denuclearize.
"We very much hope to see further steps, more concrete steps towards denuclearization at the U.S.-North Korea summit, so we're not talking about sanctions relief at this point," she said.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)
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Updated Date: May 12, 2018 03:06 AM