Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday denigrated the Obama administration’s failure to contain North Korea’s nuclear program and contrasted it with the steps forward being taken by President Donald Trump.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are scheduled to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam, this week as a follow-up to their initial June 2018 meeting in in Singapore. The summit was followed by hopes for rapid action in addressing issues that divided the two countries, but progress has been slow and, at times, elusive. Elements of North Koreas missile program remain intact.
Pompeo, appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” responded to host Jake Tapper’s request for a definition of what the Trump administration would deem a success.
“You have to go back to where we entered this in the Trump administration to think about the path forward. We have always known this would take time and it would be a step forward and slower than the world has demanded, right? This is a U.N. Security Council resolution that we are attempting to achieve by getting North Korea fully denuclearized,” Pompeo said.
“We started when the Obama administration had a policy which was essentially test, pray and cower, right. Let them test missiles, let them test nuclear weapons, pray they stop and cower when the North Koreans make a threat,” he added.
Tapper then tried to defend the Obama administration by noting that sanctions were applied against North Korea.
“Not remotely what this administration has done,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo also noted that the Trump administration has created “an enormous global coalition we built our through the United Nations to put that pressure in place to allow us to begin to have what would have been real negotiations over the past now six or seven months.”
Pompeop said that the upcoming summit should be a time of hope.
“I’m hopeful that when President Trump and Chairman Kim get together, they will make a big step towards realizing what Chairman Kim promised. He promised he denuclearized. We hope he will make a big step towards that in the week ahead.
Pompeo said critics who think the Trump administration is willing to be deceived should realize that “(w)e do know the history. We know the history of the North Koreans making promises, making commitments, lying, taking American money when President Clinton said we have got this resolved back in 1994.”
Pompeo said Trump is taking “a different path.”
“Frankly, we have been criticized for taking that path where we work, where we negotiate and then the two people who can actually effectuate the denuclearization North Korea and a brighter future for the North Korean people will gather for a second time. We have economic sanctions in place. We know the standards for relieving those sanctions. And I’m very hopeful that we will make a substantial step towards achieving the full denuclearization in a verifiable way in North Korea,” he said.
Pompeo, who joked he had met with Kim “more times than Dennis Rodman,” said that the carrot to give up nuclear weapons is full membership in the global community of nations.
“We have made it very plain to chairman Kim. The alternative to giving up his nuclear weapons is remaining a pariah state, remaining a nation that is unable to trade, unable to grow, unable to take care of its own people. We have made the argument that it would be far better for Chairman Kim himself, his senior leadership, all the people for North Korea,” Pompeo said.
“We have also shared with him that we are happy to make sure that North Korea’s security assurances … can be provided in a way that is reasonable. And we have also told them there will be real opportunities. The countries from around the world will make his economy one that looks more like South Korea’s economy than the one that exists in North Korea today,” he said.
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