The Secretary of State who till last week was the CIA Director had quietly travelled to North Korea early this month and had a meeting with Kim.
“I was there (in North Korea) on a mission. I was aiming to achieve the goals that the president set forward to me, it became clear that I was going to get the chance to meet with Kim Jong-un to discuss some of the details, but most importantly to take a read on whether there was an opportunity here for our two countries to achieve this,” Pompeo was quoted in an interview.
“We have a mission set, we have an obligation to engage in diplomatic discourse to try and find a peaceful solution so that Americans aren’t held at risk by Kim Jong-un and his nuclear arsenal. That’s the mission. That’s the goal. Only time will tell if we’re going to be able to achieve it,” said Pompeo.
Responding to a question, Pompeo said that anytime one get a chance to meet face-to-face with someone, one gets a better read about what they’re thinking, whether they’re really prepared to do something that is historic and different.
“We have got a long history of negotiating with North Korea. Repeatedly, they have taken actions only to find that those promises proved false or unworthy or they were incapable of achieving them. My goal was to try and identify if there was a real opportunity there. I believe there is. Who knows how the ultimate discussions will go,? he said.
Pompeo hoped that the proposed meeting between Trump and Kim Jong un could be achieved. “I talked about getting the release of the American detainees. Then we talked a great deal about what it might look like, what this complete, verifiable, irreversible mechanism might look like,” he said.
“When the two leaders, the only people that can make those decisions, will be in a room together, they can set the course, they can chart the outcome. They can then direct the teams to go deliver that outcome. And the best outcome would be that, that the two agree that they’re going to get there and charter their teams to go make that happen,” he said.
Noting that the Trump administration has its eyes wide open with regard to North Korea, he said he is aware about the history. “We know the risks. We’re going to be very different. We’re going to negotiate in a different way than has been done before. We’re going to require those steps – we use the word irreversible with great intention. We’re going to require those steps that demonstrate that denuclearization is going to be achieved,” he said.
Pompeo said that US is not going to allow Kim Jong-un to continue to threaten America. “We’re not going to let him develop a program such that Americans are held at risk,” he said.
“I believe that one of the reasons that Kim Jong-un is engaged in this conversation is that the pressure campaign that has been applied by President Trump, and indeed by the world, has put them in an even more tenuous, more difficult position. And so I’m optimistic. We will work hard to see if we can find a solution so that the North Korea people can in fact live a better life,” he said.