President Trump's talks with North Korea not just 'theater,' CIA chief Pompeo says

WASHINGTON, March 11 (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.

"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.

RELATED: Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea

Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea
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Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea

Jan. 6, 2016:

After four years in power, Kim Jong Un says his country can produce a hydrogen bomb, the first step toward a nuclear weapon that could target the United States. The nation tests a device, but Western experts are not convinced it is a genuine hydrogen bomb.

Feb. 7, 2016:

North Korea sends up a satellite. The United States calls this a disguised test of an engine powerful enough to launch an ICBM.

March 9, 2016:

North Korea claims it can miniaturize a nuclear device to fit onto a missile.

June 23, 2016:

North Korea says it has successfully tested an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), with a range of 2,000 to 3,400 miles. Kim Jong Un claims the country can now attack "Americans in the Pacific operation theater," including the territory of Guam.

Sept. 9, 2016:

North Korea conducts its fifth and largest nuclear test on the anniversary of the country's founding. It says it has mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile.

April 15, 2017:

North Korea reveals a new ICBM design, displaying the missiles at a military parade to mark the birthday of founding leader Kim Il Sung. Within three months, the missiles are tested.

July 4, 2017:

North Korea tests an ICBM for the first time, saying it can launch a missile that can reach the continental United States. The missile, Hwasong-14, is tested again three weeks later, this time in a night launch.

Aug. 8, 2017:

North Korea's army threatens to fire missiles towards Guam in an "enveloping fire." The message comes hours after President Donald Trump warns Pyongyang that it will be "met with fire and fury" if North Korea does not stop threatening the United States.

Aug. 23, 2017:

North Korea publishes photographs of Kim beside a diagram of what appears to be a new ICBM. Weapons experts say it will be more powerful than the missiles tested by Pyongyang in July, and could have Washington and New York within range.

Aug 29, 2017:

North Korea fires an intermediate range missile over northern Japan, prompting warnings to residents to take cover. The missile falls into the Pacific Ocean, but sharply raises tensions in the region.


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.

RELATED: Every missile launch conducted by North Korea in 2017

Every missile launch conducted by North Korea in 2017
See Gallery
Every missile launch conducted by North Korea in 2017

February 12: North Korea successfully tested a Pukguksong-2, missile, a new intermediate-range missile.

It was the first missile launched into the Sea of Japan since US President Donald Trump took office. General John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, said this launch marked a significant advancement for North Korea.

North Korea names its missiles Pukguksong when they're meant to fire from submarines, and Hwasong when they're meant to fire from ground launchers.

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

March 6: Four ballistic missiles were fired from the North Pyongan province, near China's border.

The tested missiles flew 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) before landing in the Sea of Japan. The US also began installing the a missile defense system (THAAD) in South Korea as protection against missile attack from the North.

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

March 22: North Korea tested a mobile-launched missile that exploded within minutes of taking off.

The type of missile launched was not confirmed. The launch signaled increasing frequency of North Korean missile testing.

(Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

April 5: A ballistic missile was fired ahead of a summit between US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping in Florida.

Discussing North Korea’s weapons programs was high priority for the leaders' meeting, raising speculation that the launch might have been timed to get their attention. 

(Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

April 15: North Korea launched a KN-17 intermediate range missile that exploded shortly after launch.

The failed launch coincided with a massive military parade to commemorate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder and grandfather of current leader, Kim Jong-un.

(Photo via REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

May 13: An intermediate range Hwasong-12 ballistic missile lands in the sea near Russia.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said at the time that the missile could be a new type. It flew for 30 minutes before dropping into the sea.

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

May 21: North Korea fires the Pukguksong-2 missile, which flew for 300 miles (500 kilometers).

The day before the missile launch, North Korea said it had developed the capability to use nuclear-tipped missiles to strike the US mainland, although Western missile experts said at the time that the claim was exaggerated.

(Photo via KCNA/via REUTERS/File photo)

May 29: A short range Scud-class ballistic missile was fired and flew about 280 miles (450 kilometers).

North Korea has a large stockpile of the short-range missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union.

(Photo via REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

June 8: North Korea test-fires four anti-ship missiles, making it the fourth missile test in a month.

"We assess that North Korea intended to show off its various missile capabilities," Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staffs said.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

July 4: Kim Jong Un celebrated the country's first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea has a history of conducting weapons test on or around July 4, America's Independence Day. Kim said the US would be "displeased" to receive a "package of gifts" on Independence Day.

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on July 6, 2017 shows a mass dance event as part of celebrations marking the July 4 launch of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, in Pyongyang. Fireworks lit up the sky over Pyongyang's Juche Tower as North Korea celebrated its launch of intercontinental ballistic missile, a milestone in its decades-long weapons drive. On July 4 -- the United States' Independence Day -- it launched a Hwasong-14 rocket that analysts and overseas officials said had a range of up to 8,000 kilometres, which would put Alaska and Hawaii within reach. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

July 28: North Korea launched a second ICBM, called the Hwasong-14, that Kim said demonstrated his country can hit the US mainland.

North Korean media said that Kim expressed “great satisfaction” following the launch, and said the missile is capable of delivering "a large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead."

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

August 26: North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles amid US-South Korea joint military exercises.

A day before the exercises, Pyongyang warned the US was risking an "uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war."

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

August 29: North Korea sent a missile over Japan's Hokkaido region, causing panic.

The missile was thought to be the first nuclear-weapon capable ballistic missile the North has ever sent over Japan.

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

September 15: An intermediate-range ballistic missile was fired over Japan, marking the first launch since the UN imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea.

The day before, North Korea threatened to sink Japan and turn the US to "ashes and darkness"because of the two countries spearheading of the imposed sanctions.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

November 29: North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that traveled about 1,000 kilometers, or over 620 miles, and landed in the Sea of Japan.

The missile reached an altitude of about 2,800 miles, and early estimated say it could be highest altitude reached by the country's missile program so far.

(Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

"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)

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