Trump talks with N.Korea not 'for theatre'

March 12, 2018

US President Donald Trump's talks with the North Korean leader is not "theatre", the CIA head says.

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo says an upcoming meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not just for show.

"President Trump isn't doing this for theatre. He's going to solve a problem," Pompeo told the Fox News Sunday program.

The US 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 US 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 denuclearisation" of its arsenal.

The US 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 US 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 denuclearisation 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 criticised 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 defence posture is staying the same ... so the president is going to sit down and see if he can cut a deal."

Mnuchin said denuclearisation 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, adding he was confident the meeting would take place.

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