Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is not counting on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un being completely candid in the stalled negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula — a long-sought and elusive foreign policy goal of American administrations since the 1950s.
“We don’t expect chairman Kim to tell us the truth. That’s why we’re going to verify any denuclearization that takes place, that’s why we will ensure that we see actual on-the-ground outcomes,” Pompeo said “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We’re not going to take anyone’s word for it.”
America’s chief diplomat was responding to comments made by Cindy Warmbier, the mother of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died after being imprisoned by the North Korean government for more than a year. She recently called the Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea a “charade,” saying Kim’s authoritarian regime represents “evil.”
Pressed if he was still the administration’s lead negotiator in talks with North Korean officials, Pompeo replied, “So far as I know.”
In late February, President Trump and Kim held their second summit in Vietnam to try broker a deal to eventually dismantle North Korea’s nuclear stockpile — but the high-profile meeting produced no fruitful results.
In a bold move on Friday, North Korea launched several short-range missiles which landed in the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean government. The White House said it was monitoring the situation “as necessary.”
Despite the recent launches, Pompeo said Sunday “real progress” has been made on the North Korean front during Mr. Trump’s tenure. He noted that U.S. sanctions have been “putting some of the pressure” he said is prompting Kim to want to negotiate.
“We still believe there is a path forward where Chairman Kim can denuclearize without resort to anything beyond diplomacy,” Pompeo added.