Wed, 19 Sep 2018

Trump-Kim meeting: CIA boss defends U.S.-North Korea talks

By Sheetal Sukhija, Seoul News
12 Mar 2018, 16:31 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, U.S. - Defending the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, the CIA chief Mike Pompeo reassured in an interview that the U.S. was aware of the risked involved in the meeting.

Pompeo said on Sunday that the president understands the risks and added, Trump "isn't doing this for theatre, he is going there to solve a problem.”

While Trump has claimed that the summit could produce the "greatest deal for the world,” many experts have questioned both America’s preparedness and Kim Jong Un’s possible ulterior motives

Critics have also warned that if the talks go poorly, the two nations will be in a worse position than before.

So far, now sitting U.S. President has ever met a North Korean leader. 

In 1994, Jimmy Carter met with then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung but as a former president.

Then, years later, in 2009, former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea and met with Kim Jong Il to negotiate the release of two journalists.

Last week, after South Korean envoys reached Washington, after having visited North Korea, they delivered a message proposing the meeting from Kim Jong Un to Donald Trump.

Trump instantly accepted the offer, when the South Korean envoys delivered the message to him on Thursday, taking his own administration by surprise.

Pompeo said in an interview with CBS that the administration had its eyes "wide open" to the challenge of dealing with North Korea.

The spy chief further said North Korea was coming to the table now because U.S.-led sanctions have battered it economically.

He said, “Never before have we had the North Koreans in a position where their economy was at such risk, where their leadership was under such pressure. Make no mistake: while these negotiations are going on, there will be no concessions made.”

Meanwhile, another top White House official, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, stressed the "clear" objective of the talks was getting rid of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.

Mnuchin also stated that the U.S. expects there to be no missile or nuclear test ahead of the meeting.

However, fears are high that Kim Jong Un could take advantage of the situation.

While U.S. politicians, both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concerns over the planned meeting, experts are concerned that Kim Jong Un might not keep his end of the bargain and end testing of nuclear missiles.

Republican Senator Cory Gardner said in a recent interview that he wanted "concrete, verifiable steps toward denuclearization" before the talks take place.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator, Jeff Flake said that he was skeptical whether denuclearization was a realistic goal at all.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren also raised fears that what she called the "decimated" U.S. State Department lacked officials familiar with Pyongyang's methods.

She said, "I want to see our president succeed, because if he succeeds, America succeeds. The world is safer. But I am very worried that they're going to take advantage of him."

Meanwhile, in a political rally in Pennsylvania, Trump told supporters he believed North Korea wanted to "make peace.”

He, however, warned that he might leave the talks quickly if it didn't look like progress for nuclear disarmament could be made.

He told the rally for a Republican congressional candidate, "Hey, who knows what's going to happen? I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world."

Trump also added that he hoped a deal to ease nuclear tensions would happen, particularly to help countries like North Korea.

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