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Pompeo: US firms may invest in North Korea if it meets demands

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Washington will agree to lift sanctions on North Korea if the country agrees to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a move that would create economic prosperity that “will rival” South Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a joint press availability with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha after their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaking on several Sunday morning talk shows, Pompeo said the United States would not be willing to invest taxpayer dollars to help the country, but was willing to “lift sanctions” to pave the way for private American investment in North Korea’s energy, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors.

Pompeo’s comments come ahead of a planned June 12 meeting in Singapore between North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, the first such meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

“What Chairman Kim will get from America is our finest – our entrepreneurs, our risk takers, our capital providers…They will get private capital that comes in. North Korea is desperately in need of energy…for their people. They are in great need of agricultural equipment and technology,” he said on CBS “Face the Nation.”

“We can create conditions for real economic prosperity for the North Korean people that will rival that of the South,” he added. “That is our expectation. It won’t be U.S. taxpayers.”

North Korean state media reported over the weekend that the country has scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear bomb site for later in May.

Pompeo welcomed the news of the plans when asked about it on Sunday.

“Every single site that the North Koreans have that can inflict risk on the American people that is destroyed, eliminated, dismantled is good news for the American people and for the world,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by David Gregorio

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