The US will make no concessions to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in discussions leading to potential talks between the reclusive leader and President Donald Trump, and during any subsequent negotiations, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said.
Kim, on the other hand, must stand by the concessions he’s offered, including ceasing nuclear and missile testing, continuing to allow US-South Korean military exercises, and leaving denuclearisation “on the table,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Never before have we had the North Koreans in a position where their economy was at such risk, and where their leadership was under such pressure that they would begin conversations on the terms that Kim Jong Un has conceded to,” Pompeo said.
The discussions with North Korea, should they occur, “will play out over time,” Pompeo said.
Trump may be meeting with Kim in the coming month, in the hopes of winding down the Asian nation’s nuclear weapons program, South Korean officials announced Thursday at the White House.
It would be an unprecedented meeting by a US president that upends decades of American foreign policy. Some experts have said it could become a stalling tactic by Kim to avoid additional economic sanctions while continuing to develop weaponry.
Asked on ABC’s “This Week” program whether the meeting may not happen, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said, “There’s the possibility. If it does, it’s the North Koreans’ fault.
“They have not lived up to the promises that they made.” Holding the meeting in Pyongyang is not “highly likely,” but nothing has been ruled out for a location, he said.
Pompeo said sanctions on North Korea will continue. There’s no question they are having an impact on North Korea’s economy and brought Kim to the negotiating table, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“Now we have a situation where the president is using diplomacy, but we’re not removing the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The president is going to sit down and see if he can cut a deal.”
It’s right to pursue a diplomatic approach, but the question is whether Trump is equipped to succeed with a complex and volatile situation that needs seasoned diplomats, said Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser for President Barack Obama. “This is not a real estate deal or a reality show,” Rhodes said on ABC. But Pompeo, on Fox, said Trump “isn’t doing this for theater.”