About the Author
Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.
It is thought Kim Jong Un understands that phased efforts towards denuclearization “failed repeatedly,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, citing Pyongyang discussions with the North Korean leader last week.
The assessment comes despite Kim calling last week for “phased and synchronous measures (towards denuclearization) in a responsible manner” in his second meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“We’ve done trade-for-trade, moment-for-moment; you give me X, I give you Y; and it has failed repeatedly,” said Pompeo of the history of negotiations surrounding DPRK denuclearization efforts.
“I think Chairman Kim understands that: I think he appreciates the fact that this (summit meeting with Trump) is going to have to be different and big and special, and something that has never been undertaken before.”
But while Kim’s commitment towards “disarmament in a phased manner” was also stipulated in April’s inter-Korean joint statement, Pompeo said he believed “both sides have to be prepared to take truly historic measures to achieve this historic outcome (in Singapore)”.
And in the event Trump can secure the “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea,” Pompeo said U.S. investment could be possible, with “private sector Americans coming in” to the North to improve its energy, infrastructure, and agriculture sectors.
But the U.S. “will have to provide security assurances to be sure,” Pompeo said, without elaborating on details.
“No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible, that the Americans would actually do this, would lead to the place where America was no longer held at risk by the North Korean regime,” he said.
And Pompeo said he believed Kim Jong Un shares the same objectives as America, with the summit task, therefore, being for Trump and Kim to “meet to validate the process by which this would go forward, to set out those markers so that we can negotiate this outcome.”
But the interview remarks suggest the focus of the summit will likely be laser sharp, avoiding subjects which precedence has shown can draw sharp North Korean sensitivities.
When asked if human rights would be on the agenda at the summit, for example, Pompeo said: “America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into LA or Denver.”
“That’s our objective, that’s the end state the President has laid out, and that’s the mission that he sent me on this past week to put us on the trajectory to go achieve that.”
But while Pompeo elaborated that Washington is “always concerned about human rights,” he said, “it’s the case not only are there political prisoners that remain in North Korea, there are Americans held around the world by other rogue regimes too.”
On Kim’s demeanor, Pompeo said “conversations are professional” and that the North Korean leader “knows his brief” and is “able to deal with complexity when the conversation requires it.”
“He does follow the Western press. He’ll probably watch this show at some point. He’s paying attention to things that the world is saying. He too is preparing for June 12th,” Pompeo said.
“He and his team will be working with them to put our two leaders in a position where it’s just possible we might pull off a historic undertaking.”
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun