WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that there is no compromise on the goal of the complete denuclearization of North Korea.
In an interview with NBC, Pompeo said complete denuclearization remains the objective as the two countries head into a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, next week.
"That's what we need to get for the American people," the top U.S. diplomat said. "To keep the American people safe, we have to reduce the threat from a nuclear-armed North Korea, and then in turn we can work on peace and security on the peninsula and a brighter future for the North Korean people."
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set hold a second summit on Feb. 27 and 28 following their historic first summit in Singapore in June.
The two sides are expected to flesh out the agreement reached in Singapore to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.
Trump has recently emphasized that he is in no rush to denuclearize the North as long as the regime refrains from testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, raising speculation that he is lowering expectations for the upcoming summit or backing away from the goal of complete denuclearization.
Pompeo refused to say what the U.S. might offer as concessions.
"Remember the objective -- that's the one that you laid out -- is the complete, verifiable denuclearization of the peninsula and a brighter future for the North Korean people," he said. "I don't want to get into the negotiations, what we might give up, what they might give up, but the American people should know we have the toughest economic sanctions that have ever been placed on North Korea, and we won't release that pressure until such time as we're confident that we've substantially reduced that risk."