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By David Brunnstrom
SEOUL (Reuters)

The United States hopes to achieve “major disarmament” by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, speaking the day after President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim John Un for a historic summit

Trump and Kim met in Singapore on Tuesday and reached a short agreement that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” but provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up nuclear arms or how that might be verified.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks at the signed document, after their summit in Singapore
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un looks at the signed document that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

Pompeo was in Seoul on Wednesday to brief South Korean officials on the summit. Speaking to a small group of reporters and asked if he would like to accomplish major nuclear disarmament within Trump’s current term, which ends on Jan. 20, 2021, Pompeo replied:

“Oh yes, most definitively. Absolutely … you used the term major, major disarmament, something like that? We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the 2-1/2 years.”

 

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Anthony Wallace/Pool via Reuters

 

“I am … confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification,” Pompeo said, saying the initial agreement between Trump and Kim had not captured all of what had been agreed by the two sides.

“Not all of that work appeared in the final document. But lots of other places where there were understandings reached, we couldn’t reduce them to writing, so that means there’s still some work to do, but there was a great deal of work done that is beyond what was seen in the final document that will be the place that we will begin when we return to our conversations,” Pompeo said after flying to Seoul from Singapore.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un leave after signing documents, at their summit in Singapore
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un leave after signing documents that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

Trump, who returned to Washington early on Wednesday, hailed the meeting with Kim, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, as a success that had removed the North Korean threat.

Critics at home said the joint statement by the two leaders was short on detail and that Trump had made too many concessions to Kim.

 

 

On the way forward, Pompeo said, “I don’t know exactly what the timing will be for our next conversation with the North Koreans. I would anticipate it will be fairly quickly after we return to our home countries.”

“I don’t know exactly what form that will take, but I’m very confident that by some time in the next week or so we will begin the engagement.”

 

(Writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Frances Kerry)

 

U.S. President Trump and North Korea's Kim meet at the start of their summit in Singapore
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un listens to U.S. President Donald Trump as they meet in a one-on-one bilateral session at the start of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un look at each others before signing documents, at their summit in Singapore
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un look at each others before signing documents that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. They are flanked by Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

North Koreans watch news report on North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un's Singapore visit in front of an electronic screen at Pyongyang station in Pyongyang
North Koreans watch news report on North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un’s Singapore visit in front of an electronic screen at Pyongyang station in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 12, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

 

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un react at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un react at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

Keep reading (more images ahead) …

 

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