Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday set a deadline by which North Korea must denuclearize, saying that the process must be completed by January 2021, when President Donald Trump's current term would end.
In a statement, Pompeo also expressed his desire to meet with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, next week in New York during the United Nations General Assembly.
"This morning, I invited my counterpart Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to meet in New York City next week where we are both already scheduled to be in attendance at the United Nations General Assembly meeting," said Pompeo in his statement.
"This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim," he added.
Pompeo made reference to the June 2018 Singapore summit at which Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a declaration opening the door to denuclearization by Pyongyang in exchange for US guarantees regarding that regime's survival, although concrete time periods for achieving those objectives were not set forth.
In recent weeks, the bilateral dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang has stalled due to differences on how to move the denuclearization process forward.
North Korea has demanded progress on signing a peace treaty with South Korea that would put an end to the technical state of war on the Korean Peninsula in exchange for taking concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, as demanded by the White House.
In a gesture to Washington, Kim on Wednesday offered to permanently close Yongbyon, where the North Korean regime produces enriched uranium for its atomic bombs, in exchange for the US taking measures corresponding to those agreed to by the two countries at the Singapore summit.
Kim made the announcement at the third summit between the two Koreas held so far this year after the North Korean regime elected to try and break out of its diplomatic isolation in January.