Holding a wave of interviews in Texas, where he's set to attend an energy conference, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fielded a number of questions on North Korea and the failed summit talks in Hanoi.
Pompeo said it was time for North Korea to act on its pledge to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, saying 'talk is cheap' and the most important thing is action on the promises made to the U.S.
Despite the tough talk, Pompeo said he felt hopeful about the months ahead.
Pompeo also took the opportunity to reveal that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had told him face-to-face (quote) "no less than half a dozen times" that he would denuclearize.
In a separate interview,.. Pompeo credited international sanctions on Pyeongyang for bringing Kim to the table.
He says one of the ways that Washington can convince North Korea to move towards denuclearization, is to reduce the amount of energy they can import.
He added that U.S. and UN sanctions have made a material difference.
Regarding reports North Korea is rebuilding a key missile facility and could be preparing another rocket launch, Pompeo only emphasized the progress he's seen since the two sides began talks.
He reiterated the North "hasn't conducted any further missile tests, no more nuclear testing", two important tools for advancing their program.
Pompeo also sounded confident about U.S. defense readiness on the peninsula, despite President Trump's scaling back of major military exercises between the allies, citing the financial cost and damage they do to North Korea diplomacy.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.