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View more articles by Hamish Macdonald
Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
A bad North Korean nuclear deal is not an option and the U.S. is committed to the full dismantlement of the DPRK’s WMD programme “without delay”, the new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at his swearing-in ceremony in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
The comments come in the lead up to the anticipated summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, which is tentatively scheduled for May or June at an as yet unannounced location.
“This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past, our eyes are wide open, it’s time to solve this once and for all, a bad deal is not an option, the American people are counting on us to get this right,” he said at the event.
“We are committed to the permanent, verifiable irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay,” he added.
In his speech in Washington D.C., Pompeo also described the current diplomatic engagement with North Korea as “an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean peninsula”.
“Right now we have an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean peninsula. I underscore the word opportunity, we are at the beginning stages of the work and the outcome is certainly yet unknown,” he said.
Pompeo, formerly the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was recently revealed to have met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a secret trip to Pyongyang over Easter weekend.
While Pompeo has been publicly vocal in communicating the U.S. position of seeking the Completed, Irreversible and Irreversible Denuclearization (CVID) of North Korea and that the U.S. “eyes are open”, he revealed in an interview with the ABC’s Jonathan Karl that he sought to assess Kim’s understanding of such a position.
“When I left there, Kim Jong Un understood the mission exactly as I’ve described it today, and he agreed that he was prepared to talk about that and to lay out a map that would help us achieve that objective,” he said.
On Friday, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held the first high-level inter-Korean summit in over a decade at Panmunjom along the North-South border.
In a joint declaration, both North and South Korea stated a commitment to achieve the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, a commitment that Kim has purported to have vocalized multiple times since the beginning of 2018.
While it remains unclear what North Korea determines to be the full “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” or how it aims to realize it, Pompeo’s comments are likely to be further efforts by the U.S. to make clear it will not accept anything less than CVID at this point in time.