Second Trump-Kim summit to go forward without list of nuclear weapons, Pence says

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By Vaughn Hillyard  with NBC News Politics
Image: Vice President Mike Pence poses for a photo with ASEAN leaders in Si
Vice President Mike Pence poses for a photo with ASEAN leaders in Singapore on Thursday.   -   Copyright  Edgar Su Reuters

SINGAPORE — The U.S. will not require North Korea to provide a complete list of its nuclear weapons and missile sites before a second summit between President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News in an interview on Thursday.

Since an initial agreement for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula was reached between Trump and Kim in June, the United States has pressed the North Koreans to provide information on the entirety of its nuclear operations. The Kim regime has refused to provide the details of the country's operations and postponed scheduled meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeoin New York City last week.

The second Trump-Kim meeting, slated for after the New Year, will be where a "verifiable plan" to disclose the sites and weapons must be reached, he said, adding: "Now we need to see results."

Edgar Su
Vice President Mike Pence poses for a photo with ASEAN leaders in Singapore on Thursday.Edgar Su

"I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons," Pence said.

This week, a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies outlined a number of missile operating bases that the North Koreans have continued to develop since the Trump-Kim summit five months ago.

"We can't negotiate over things they don't admit having," said Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report. "It should take us back to the initial U.S. negotiating point: We need a full declaration."

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of Asian leaders in Singapore, Pence said, "Everything begins with relationships, but now we need to see results.

He added that there had been "tremendous progress" in negotiations thus far — namely North Korea's stoppage of missile testing and the return of U.S. hostages and the possible remains of American service members in the Korean War.

The U.S. will maintain its hardline pressure on North Korea by not lifting its sanctions, Pence added.

"Until we have a plan that is implemented to achieve complete, verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization, we're going to keep the pressure on," he said.

Before his interview with NBC News, Pence left a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has called on the U.S. to sign onto a peace treaty that would end the Korean War. 

The Trump administration has not indicated that it would make that agreement before lifting sanctions on North Korea.