Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that all United States intelligence indicates that North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is “alive and well.”
“We’ve seen the same images from yesterday that the world saw. It looks like Chairman Kim is alive and well. Regardless of any of that our mission has remained the same. To convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons,” Pompeo told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
“We don’t know why he chose to leave at that moment. We know there are other extended periods of time which Chairman Kim’s been out of public view as well so it’s not unprecedented,” he added.
The young leader cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of a new fertilizer plant, dispelling rumors that he was dead or in “grave condition.”
MORE: How reports of Kim Jong Un's health spread and what they tell us about what comes next for North Korea
When pressed by Raddatz to reveal if he ever knew that Kim was gravely ill, Pompeo said, “I just can’t say anything about that.”
He also refused to answer whether Kim was suffering from COVID-19 or a cardiovascular problem.
“Martha, I appreciate you continuing to try, I just can’t offer you anything further this morning,” he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accompanied by State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus(L) speaks at a news conference at the State Department on April 29, 2020, in Washington,DC.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accompanied by State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus(L) speaks at a news conference at the State Department on April 29, 2020, in Washington,DC.Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Talks to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have been all but dead for months and Kim has announced his intention to pursue new nuclear and missile testing. Working-level negotiators last met in October, but neither side has been willing to move first, leaving them deadlocked.
In the meantime, North Korea continues to advance its nuclear weapons program. But Trump continues to tout his relationship with Kim and point to a lack of long-range missile testing as signs of a successful policy.