At a press conference Friday with the South Korean foreign minister, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave some hints about the president's offer to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (Watch the rest of the press conference here).
Pompeo said his direct talks with the North Korean leader this week were "substantive" and "productive" and added, "the release of these three citizens helps set the conditions for a successful meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim."
If the talks succeed, he explained, Trump might offer North Korea the ultimate reward, "prosperity on par with" South Korea.
"If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity for the North Korea people," the Secretary of State said. "America's track record of support for the Korean people is second to none. If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on par with our South Korean friends."
SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: Sixty-five years ago. Tens of thousands of Koreans and Americans sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of freedom for South Korea. In the years since, the citizens of South Korea took the hard-earned freedom and transformed their war-shattered country into an economic wonder.
The Republic of Korea is now the 11th largest economy in the globe, the sixth largest trading partner of the United States and a key force multiplier for U.S. leadership in the world. The U.S. Republic of Korea alliance has been fortified by the trials of history and is unequivocally now stronger than ever.
Over 28,500 men and women of the United States Forces Korea serve as the forward deployed face of the ironclad U.S. commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea, its people and indeed to the entire region. The prospect of peace and security in the Korean peninsula and across the Asia Pacific region is why we have stood shoulder to shoulder for more than six decades.
Just yesterday, I returned from Pyongyang, where I had productive discussions with Chairman Kim Jong Un in preparation for President Trump's summit with him. It was an honor as one of my first actions as Secretary of State to negotiate the safe return of three U.S. citizens and bring them home to freedom.
We wish these Americans and their families the best as they reconnect after a very difficult time apart. On behalf of the American people, we say welcome home. The release of these three citizens helps set the conditions for a successful meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim.
We look forward to our continued preparations with the DPRK to make the summit in Singapore on June 12th a true success for the American and Korean people and for the world. I congratulate South Korea and North Korea on their historic meeting last month.
The United States is encouraged by President Moon and Chairman Kim's stated goal of denuclearization in the Panmunjom Declaration. Today, Foreign Minister Kang and I discussed the summit, my trip to North Korea and the bold step President Trump is about to take when he meets with Chairman Kim.
We would not be where we are today without the close and coordinated leadership of Presidents Trump and Moon. The United States and the Republic of Korea remain committed to achieving the permanent, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity for the North Korea - North Korean people. America's track record of support for the Korean people is second to none. If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends.
The United States looks forward to continued, close cooperation with our South Korean allies on this issue and many others. Foreign Ministers, thank you for being with me today. It was a pleasure to work with you.