US to give North Korea post-summit timeline with 'asks' soon: official

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska, June 24 (Reuters) - The United States will soon present a timeline to North Korea with "specific asks" of Pyongyang after a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, a senior U.S. defense official said.

The official, who spoke to a small group of reporters ahead of a trip to Asia this week by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, did not specify details but suggested that the timeline would be rapid enough to make clear Pyongyang's level of commitment.

"We'll know pretty soon if they're going to operate in good faith or not," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"There will be specific asks and there will be a specific timeline when we present the North Koreans with our concept of what implementation of the summit agreement looks like."

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U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un after they signed documents that acknowledged 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
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Anthony Wallace/Pool via Reuters TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend a signing ceremony during a summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Anthony Wallace/Pool via Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during the signing of a document after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Susan Walsh/Pool via Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un react during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Anthony Wallace/Pool via Reuters
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
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk in the Capella Hotel after their working lunch, on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Susan Walsh/Pool via Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
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 TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures next to North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
TOPSHOT - Pedestrians walk in front of a screen showing a news report displaying portraits of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in Tokyo on June 12, 2018. - Trump and Kim have become on June 12 the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet, shake hands and negotiate to end a decades-old nuclear stand-off. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week he would likely travel back to North Korea "before too terribly long" to try to flesh out commitments made at the June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim.

At the Singapore summit, the first meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader, Kim reaffirmed a commitment to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, while Trump said he would halt joint U.S.-South Korean "war games."

Mattis, at the start of a week-long trip that includes stops in China, South Korea and Japan, said Trump's guidance on suspending military drills applied not just to the major Freedom Guardian exercise in August but also to two smaller Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises.

"The large, joint, combined exercises have been suspended. ... We'll see if the continuing negotiations keep them that way," Mattis said.

Mattis arrived on Sunday in Alaska, where he will visit Fort Greely and Eielson Air Force Base, before continuing to China.

His trip there from June 26-28 will be the first by a U.S. defense secretary since 2014, and comes as Sino-U.S. tensions have heightened over trade and China's muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

North Korea is expected to be among the top items on Mattis' agenda during his talks with senior Chinese officials. He will then travel to South Korea and end his trip with talks in Japan on June 29.

Last week, China hosted North Korea's Kim. North Korean media said Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim reached an understanding on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula after discussing the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Pompeo told reporters on a visit to Seoul earlier this month he would take the lead role in driving the North Korea negotiation process forward following the summit.

He said Washington hoped to achieve major disarmament by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years, within Trump's current presidential term, which ends on Jan. 20, 2021. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Richard Chang)

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