1. SOUNDBITE: (English) Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State
"The mission set remains the same. The United States and Japan are deeply connected, and we've talked about that, South Koreans as well. The mission set to denuclearize North Korea, nothing has changed nothing that's changed from Singapore to Hanoi or Hanoi to now. That is we've made progress but our mission said has not changed a single bit."
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State
"Still in charge of the team. President Trump is obviously in charge of the overall effort, but will be my team. Special Representative (Stephen) Biegum and will continue to lead the U.S. efforts to achieve what Chairman Kim committed to do back in June of last year, which was to denuclearize. As I've said before, he's made that commitment to President Trump multiple times has made it to me personally half a dozen times, and I'm convinced we we still have a real opportunity to achieve that outcome and our diplomatic team will continue to remain in the lead."
3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Taro Kono, Japanese Foreign Minister
"The United States and Japan have agreed that we we need to implement the Security Council resolution until North Korea CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization) all the weapons of mass destruction and the missiles of all ranges. And we agree that we need to take care of the issue of ships-to-ship transfer and we need to work with the other partner countries to prevent this ship-to-ship transfer. I would not comment on so-called new weapons of North Korea, but unless they take concrete steps towards the CVID of nuclear weapons and missiles, there gonna be no bright future for North Korea."
The U.S. and Japan presented a united front on the issue of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula as the two countries conducted security talks in Washington.
"The mission set remains the same," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "The United States and Japan are deeply connected."
"Nothing has changed from Singapore to Hanoi, or Hanoi to now" he said, referencing the two summits that President Donald Trump has held with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Just a day after North Korea called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be removed as President Donald Trump's top negotiator, Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan were meeting at the State Department with their Japanese counterparts, Taro Kono and Takeshi Iwaya, to plot a way forward.
Pompeo said he's still in charge of the U.S. negotiating team.
"Nothing has changed. We're continuing to work, to negotiate," Pompeo said.
The U.S. is refusing to ease major sanctions until North Korea completely and verifiably dismantles its nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles while the North wants significant sanctions to be lifted before the process is completed.
Japan has advocated a tough approach to the North in contrast to South Korea, which has pushed for a step-by-step approach that would lift some international sanctions as incentives.
Pompeo has said some minor relief, including the possible easing of travel restrictions, could be considered in the short- to medium-term but that the crippling sanctions the North most wants removed will not be lifted until it fulfills what he says have been Kim's repeated pledges to Trump to completely denuclearize.