North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un understands that denuclearization must happen "quickly", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday, warning there will be no sanctions relief for Pyongyang until the process is complete.
Washington remained committed to the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization of North Korea, Pompeo added, after the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore drew criticism for its vague wording on plans for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.
"We believe that Kim Jong Un understands the urgency... that we must do this quickly," he said of the effort to have North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons.
Washington's top diplomat was in Seoul to brief his South Korean and Japanese counterparts after US President Donald Trump's post-summit comments sparked confusion and concern in Tokyo and Seoul.
Pompeo, however, insisted at a joint press conference with the two countries' foreign ministers that there was no daylight among the allies on how to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea.
Contrasting the Trump policy with previous US administrations, Pompeo said: "In the past, they were providing economic and financial relief before... complete denuclearization had taken place."
"That is not going to happen, President Trump made that clear."
Earlier, the UN Security Council punished North Korea over its weapons programs with increasingly strict sanctions last year, which were also backed by China, Pyongyang's only ally.
Trump said after his meeting with Kim -- the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders -- that Washington would halt its joint military exercises with South Korea, an announcement that caught Seoul -- and apparently the Pentagon -- by surprise.
The US and South Korea conduct massive annual military exercises to maintain readiness for operations on the peninsula, a source of irritation for Pyongyang, which considers them preparations for an invasion.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team