U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the bilateral talks between the United States and North Korea in a recent interview. “We are working to strike a deal,” he said, “a deal that Chairman Kim [Jong Un] has signed up for, where. . .he will fully denuclearize, he will permit us to verify that complete denuclearization, and in exchange for that we’ll provide security assurances.”
For decades the North Korean leadership believed the nuclear program was their security net; it provided them with stability and security, said Secretary Pompeo. “We’ve now flipped that narrative. I believe we have convinced him that that nuclear program, in fact, presents a threat to him and that giving up that program is the path towards a brighter future for the North Korean people.”
If Kim Jong Un sets a new strategic direction for North Korea where they focus on the economy and their people as opposed to their war-making machine, they will have a reliable partner in America, affirmed Secretary Pompeo
At the same time, the U.S. continues to be very clear about defending human rights in North Korea. President Trump raised the issue with Chairman Kim in their meeting in Singapore.
Secretary Pompeo expressed confidence that addressing the biggest threat to the United States, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, could ultimately create the conditions for improved human rights for the people of North Korea. “We are confident that the biggest threat to the United States, Chairman Kim’s nuclear program, is the place we need to begin. And if we are successful, if we can get the outcome we hope to have, we think we create a greater probability that human rights conditions not only in North Korea but around the world may well improve.”
Ultimately, if “Chairman Kim either is unable to or unprepared to denuclearize, sanctions will remain in place,” Secretary Pompeo confirmed, “and we’ll be back hard at it if the negotiations prove to be either not in good faith or unproductive.” The decision is Chairman Kim’s.