By Michael Hernandez
President Donald Trump has pledged to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to "alter" the 1953 Korea armistice agreement that effectively halted hostilities between the North and the South, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
In exchange for full denuclearization, Pompeo said Trump "has committed to making sure that we alter the armistice agreement, provide the security assurances that Chairman Kim needs".
"If we can get those two done in a way that matches, we will have reduced a global threat that has bedeviled the United States and the world for decades," Pompeo said in Detroit, Michigan.
He did not elaborate on what kinds of changes the U.S. is weighing, but the North has repeatedly taken umbrage with joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and the stationing of over 20,000 American troops in the South.
"We still have to flesh out all the things that underlay the commitments that were made that day in Singapore," he said, referring to last week's historic summit between the American president and Kim.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later confirmed Pompeo's remarks, saying: "We’re finalizing the details of what the process will look like."
Critics say Trump conceded too much ground to Kim during the summit when he announced the end of 'war games' with South Korea, seemingly agreeing with years of North Korean opposition to joint U.S.-South military exercises when he described them as "provocative".
While even Seoul and Washington's defense officials did not seem prepared for Trump's declaration, the development may have helped further ease any lingering tensions ahead of last Thursday's inter-Korean military dialogue.
Asked if a follow-on summit will be needed, Pompeo said it is "hard to know".
No peace treaty was ever signed between Seoul and Pyongyang to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War, making the armistice the closest thing to an official end to the three-year conflict that left hundreds of thousands dead. The armistice was signed by the U.S, China and North Korea.