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Sec. of State Mike Pompeo speaks in the White House briefing room. Photo: Mandel Ngan/ AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has "indicated to me personally that he's prepared to denuclearize, that he understands that the current model doesn't work."

Why it matters: Pompeo said the only acceptable outcome to Tuesday's summit in Singapore is one in which North Korea permanently denuclearizes, and that Kim is open to that outcome. The problem, though, is the two sides don’t seem to have reached a consensus on what denuclearization actually looks like.

What's next: Pompeo said he’ll be meeting with South Korea and Japan after the summit to coordinate potential next steps, as well as traveling to China and briefing officials there.

More from Pompeo's briefing:

  • Pompeo just hopes to create a "document" that Congress will sign to guarantee future administrations cannot undo the long-term results from the summit.
  • On Rudy Giuliani's comment that Kim got “on his hands and knees and begged" for Trump to attend the summit: "Rudy doesn't speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues." He added that he thinks the comment was "in jest."

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

4 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.