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Pompeo corrects Trump, says North Korea is a nuclear threat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that North Korea still poses a nuclear threat, directly contradicting President Trump’s claims from earlier this month.

Pompeo told lawmakers during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that Trump “intended” to say that the U.S. “did reduce” North Korea’s nuclear threat, when he tweeted that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

“I’m confident what he intended there was, ‘we did reduce the threat,'” Pompeo said, according to CNN. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

After returning from his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump declared in a pair of tweets that North Korea no longer posed a threat.

“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!”

At the summit, the two leaders signed a document committing the U.S. to unspecified security guarantees in exchange for a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

Critics have said that the document was vague, and did not provide enough details on how North Korea planned to approach denuclearization.

Pompeo declined to give further details on the U.S.’s demands for North Korea at the hearing.

“I’m not prepared to talk about the details of the discussions that are taking place,” he said. “I think it would be inappropriate and, frankly, counterproductive to achieving the end state that we’re hoping to achieve.”

The hearing took place after reports that revealed North Korea making infrastructure improvements to a nuclear research facility.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said last week that he is “not aware” of North Korea having taken any steps to denuclearize, adding that the Pentagon is still “at the very front end” of the process.

“The detailed negotiations have not begun,” he told reporters. “I wouldn’t expect that at this point.”

(The Hill ; AVERY ANAPOL)
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