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Trump talks with North Korea not just ‘theater,’ CIA chief Pompeo says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on Sunday an upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not just for show.

FILE PHOTO – A combination photo shows a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) handout of Kim Jong Un released on May 10, 2016, and Donald Trump posing for a photo in New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA handout via Reuters/File Photo & REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

“President Trump isn’t doing this for theater. He’s going to solve a problem,” said Pompeo told the “Fox News Sunday” program.

The United States expects North Korea to halt all nuclear and missile testing in advance of any meeting, Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

Pompeo also said U.S. military exercises around the Korean peninsula will continue in the lead-up to the talks. In addition, he said, North Korea must be willing to discuss “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” of its arsenal.

The United States will make no concessions, he added, and will continue to push its economic sanctions against the country ahead of the meeting, tentatively scheduled for May.

After months of escalating tensions over North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile programs, Trump decided on Thursday to become the first sitting U.S. president to meet with North Korea’s leader.

On Saturday, Trump said his meeting could fizzle without an agreement or could result in “the greatest deal for the world,” with a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, Mnuchin dismissed criticism that Trump’s decision to meet elevates the North Korean leader’s international standing. He said the Republican president has also been criticized for not using more diplomacy to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

“Now we have a situation where the president is using diplomacy but we’re not removing the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin said. “That’s the big difference here. The sanctions are staying on. The defense posture is staying the same … so the president is going to sit down and see if he can cut a deal.”

Mnuchin said denuclearization of the peninsula is the objective of a meeting between the two leaders.

“We’ve been very clear … that’s the objective and that’s what we’re going to accomplish,” he said. He said he was confident the meeting would take place.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Posted by: Courtesy Reuters

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