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Trump team: North Korea investment possible after denuclearization

Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, in an

Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, in an undated photo during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Credit: Bloomberg / Andrew Harrer

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, in separate Sunday interviews, said the United States is prepared to invest heavily in North Korea’s economy once its leader Kim Jong Un fully commits to a denuclearization deal.

Bolton and Pompeo made the Sunday talk show rounds days after President Donald Trump announced his first face-to-face summit with Kim will take place next month in Singapore. The meeting, which will focus on getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, will mark the first such encounter between a sitting U.S. president and North Korea’s regime.

Pompeo, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said if Kim agrees with “what it is the president has demanded,” complete nuclear disarmament, then the United States was ready to encourage American private sector investment in North Korea.

“This will be Americans coming in, private sector Americans, not the U.S. taxpayer, private sector Americans coming in to help build out the energy grid . . . to work with them to develop infrastructure, all the things the North Korean people need,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo, who has met with Kim twice in the past two months, including to secure the release of three American citizens previously detained in a North Korean labor camp, cautioned that despite recent concessions made by North Korea’s leader, “there is a great deal of work that remains,” to get him to commit to the Trump administration’s demands.

“We are not to the place yet where we should be remotely close to declaring that we have achieved what it is we want,” Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

Bolton, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” said the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim was a starting point for ongoing talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, and cautioned that the meeting would not necessarily result in a signed agreement that day.

“I don’t think anybody believes you’re going to sign the complete ending of the nuclear program in one day,” Bolton said.

Bolton told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the United States would seek to have North Korea eliminate “all aspects” of its nuclear program, as well as its ballistic missile program and in return North Korea could hope to become a “normal nation.”

“I think what the prospect for North Korea is to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way that South Korea does,” Bolton said when asked if the U.S. would offer economic aid.

Bolton said the U.S. would want “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” before offering any aid to North Korea.

Asked if Trump would address the subject of human rights abuses in North Korea, Bolton told “This Week” host Martha Raddatz: “I think this first meeting is going to be on the critical issue of denuclearization.”

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