Mattis: North Korea must show steps toward denuclearization

U.S. Defense Secretary says North Korea will receive sanctions relief only after it shows irreversible steps toward denuclearization.

Elad Benari ,

Jim Mattis
Jim Mattis

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday night that North Korea will receive sanctions relief only after it shows “verifiable and irreversible” steps toward denuclearization, Reuters reported.

Speaking before the start of a meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Mattis noted that it would be a bumpy road to a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.

“We can anticipate, at best, a bumpy road to the (negotiations),” Mattis said, according to Reuters.

“We will continue to implement all UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization,” added the Defense Secretary.

Trump announced on Friday that his meeting with the North Korean leader will take place as scheduled on June 12 in Singapore.

"We'll be meeting on June 12th in Singapore," he said following a meeting with North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of Kim’s, who delivered a personal letter from the leader to Trump.

Trump had previously called off the June summit with Kim, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility” towards the U.S. in recent statements.

The President later said, however, that the summit could go ahead as planned following a more appeasing statement from Pyongyang and productive talks with North Korean officials.