The United States and North Korea are technically still at war - a stop-gap armistice ended the brutal three-year Korean war in 1953 and around 30,000 American troops remain in neighboring South Korea, which the USA supported in the conflict.
As the summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set for June 12th in Singapore, the administration released some details of what it is offering to the Communist regime in exchange for denuclearizing.
Mike Pence said, "What Kim Jong Un has said publicly and in discussions is that he is prepared, he is prepared to negotiate to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".
"We talked about the fact that America has often in history had adversaries who we are now close partners with and our hope that we could achieve the same with respect to North Korea".
Last week, USA intelligence said the North Koreans had started pulling cables from the tunnels at their nuclear test site - a first step toward closing them.
The Trump administration is planning a first-ever meeting between a sitting USA president and a leader of North Korea for June 12 in Singapore.
"China welcomes the positive progress made by the leaders of the United States and DPRK in the preparations for the Summit", Chinese Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Geng Shuang said during his regular press briefing held here. It was Pompeo's first since becoming the head of the State Department.
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Remember that time in 2009 when Bill Clinton went to North Korea and came back with two young women? To the USA, that means the North giving up the nuclear weapons it has already built.
"We had good conversations, conversations that involve deep complex problems, challenges, strategic decisions that chairman Kim has before him", Pompeo said.
United States officials said their freedom removed the last major obstacle, providing Trump with tangible evidence that his twin-track policy of engagement and "maximum pressure" was working.
"It would require a strong verification program and one that we'll undertake with companions world wide", Pompeo added. Their release has been "heralded as a potential breakthrough toward denuclearizing the Korean peninsula". He said he believes Kim "wants to do something" about reaching an agreement on denuclearization at their approaching summit.
Pompeo's promise of an economic carrot to match the stick of "maximum pressure" may reassure observers who are concerned that Seoul and Washington's objectives are not exactly aligned.
"We are very clear that sanctions remain in place until and unless we see visible, meaningful action taken by North Korea on the denuclearisation track", Ms Kang said.
But, despite the optimism of that moment, all efforts to limit North Korea's nuclear program have so far failed.