SEOUL, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country's administration will be patient in dealing with North Korea as long as it stays away from nuclear and missile tests.
Another key factor in relations with Pyongyang is to maintain the economic sanctions against it that have caused it to engage in negotiations, the secretary told a U.S. news outlet, according to a transcript released by his department Monday.
"It will take time" to resolve the North Korea issue, he said in a teleconferencing interview with the radio station KFDI, which operates out of Kansas. "We are prepared to be patient."
He again stressed the importance of synchronizing the pace of inter-Korean ties and denuclearization.
In following up on the Singapore summit agreements between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he added, "There are lots of elements to them. One of them is the relationship between South Korea and North Korea."
The new working group between Seoul and Washington is designed to ensure that efforts to bring peace to the peninsula move in parallel with the denuclearization process, Pompeo said.
"We are in lock step with our Republic of Korea partners and we want to make sure we stay that way," he said, using South Korea's official name.
As to the secretive communist regime's announcement that it has developed a new cutting-edge tactical weapon, he said it's not that surprising.
"We think we know what it is they're referring to there; we're pretty sure. I can't say much," he said.
He did not mention when he plans to meet North Koreans for discussions on a second summit expected to take place early next year.
Pompeo had planned to hold talks with Kim Yong-chol, a top aide to the North's leader, in New York earlier this month. But the meeting was indefinitely postponed, reportedly at Pyongyang's request.
Source: Yonhap News Agency