The remarks came as North Korean and U.S. negotiators met in Singapore Monday for final preparations on the eve of an unprecedented summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, seeking to bridge the gaps over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.
The meeting will be the first time a sitting US President has met with a North Korea leader. Days earlier, in the North Korean village of Panmunjom, negotiations between diplomats from Washington and Pyongyang stalled when North Korea's vice-foreign minister Choe Son-hui said that denuclearization "should not be on the table for the Singapore summit" - a demand that would nullify the meeting's goal from the White House's perspective.
The Swiss-educated leader, who is believed to be 34, has not left his country since taking office in 2011 other than to visit China and the South Korean side of the border Demilitarised Zone, which separates the two Koreas.
Special Operations Command (SOC) police officers patrol Orchard Road on June 10 ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.
The first thing to look out for is whether the two hit it off in person.
The Korean Central News Agency said issues of mutual concern, related to the "changed era", will be on the agenda at the summit, including bilateral relations, peace and denuclearization.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meanwhile told reporters he was "very optimistic" about the summit, and insisted the USA was willing to offer Pyongyang "unique" security guarantees if Kim's government signed up for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation, or "CVID". That armistice has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war. "If diplomacy does not move in the right direction. those measures will increase".
Michael Kovrig, a senior adviser for northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, said Pompeo's comment that Trump "recognised Chairman Kim's desire for security" signalled that the USA may offer formal security guarantees to Pyongyang in exchange for nuclear disarmament.
Kim Jong Un takes late-night stroll in Singapore ahead of historic Trump summit
FBN's Deirdre Bolton on President Trump's upcoming summit with North Korea.
Trump has signaled openness to establishing a USA embassy in Pyongyang, according to a report from Axios, which could signal a pathway toward normalizing relations.
Kim is due to leave on Tuesday afternoon, a source involved in the planning of his visit to Singapore, said on Sunday.
Now, Trump plans to hold his first meeting with Kim alone save for a pair of interpreters, heightening concerns he will stray from the approach USA officials hope the President will follow.
"The bombing is treated as the American original sin in (North Korean) propaganda and it certainly was savage", Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Pusan National University, told CNN past year. It is easy to call for "the dismantlement and removal of all nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons from North Korea", and withholding "sanctions relief for anything other than this", as the seven senators did.
Anti-war civic group activists attend a rally to support the upcoming summit between the USA and North Korea, in front of US embassy in Seoul, South Korea.
Mr Lee has said the summit would cost Singapore about S$20 million ($A19 million), more than half of which would go on security.
Some prominent Americans have gradually begun to see it this way as well.
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