Top US weapons expert brought to North Korea summit

Donald Trump blows out an early birthday cake.

Donald Trump’s most senior expert on weapons of mass destruction is with him in Singapore for tomorrow’s historic summit, the US has revealed, as it admitted it has been “fooled before” by North Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the president will be going into the face-to-face talks with “confidence” and a “positive attitude”, but his “ultimate objective” remained unchanged and “complete verifiable and irreversible” denuclearisation was the only outcome America will accept.

In return, he said, “we will take actions to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them”.

“Just the opposite. That it leads to a brighter and better future for the North Korean people.”

Speaking on the eve of the much anticipated encounter, Pompeo said these guarantees would be “different and unique” than the US has been willing to provide before.

The summit provides “an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity” to North Korea, he said.

Responding to a report in The New York Times that the US lacks the technical expertise on dismantling North Korea’s weapons programme, Pompeo said more than 100 experts on nuclear, chemical, biological and missile warfare had been working on the logistics of the issue for the past three months.

“On the ground in Singapore, we have a team that includes the president’s most senior expert in weapons of mass destruction, who can cover any technical needs that the meetings may present,” he said.

Trump has said he will “know within the first minute” if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is serious about giving up his nuclear arsenal in return for diplomatic and economic incentives.

Pompeo, who has been instrumental in setting up the first ever meeting between a US and North Korean leader, sounded an upbeat tone and said preparatory talks were “moving quite rapidly”.

He said Trump was “fully prepared” and was optimistic that the outcome would be “successful”, while warning that there was still “lots of work left to do”.

“The United States has been fooled before,” said Pompeo.

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