SEOUL- On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in Seoul said that the United States hopes to see "major disarmament" of nuclear-armed North Korea by the end of President Donald Trump's first term in 2020.
Speaking the day after an unprecedented summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pompeo told reporters negotiations on Pyongyang's atomic arsenal could move forward quickly and would take place "most certainly in the president's first term."
"Major disarmament... We're hopeful that we can achieve that in the two and half years," he said, adding that there is "a lot of work left to do".
On Tuesday, at the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the United States and North Korea in Singapore, Trump and Kim vowed in a joint statement to work toward the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
However, this stock phrase, favoured by Pyongyang, stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.
"Let me assure you that 'complete' encompasses verifiable in the minds of everyone concerned. One can't completely denuclearise without validating, authenticating," he said.
Pompeo also said he anticipates the US would next speak to North Korean officials "fairly quickly after we return to our home countries", adding that he was "very confident" that some form of engagement between the two sides would take place in the next week.