Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cleared up rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un being inauthentic in ongoing peace talks.
Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In recently signed a declaration ending warring between the two countries and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Some people have speculated that the peace talks could be a move by Jong-Un to try and play the international community in relieving sanctions against his country.
Pompeo, who just the other week met personally with the North Korean leader, said he is being “serious” about the peace negotiations.
Per Washington Examiner:
“I did get a sense that he was serious,” Pompeo told reporters at a NATO summit in Brussels. “The economic pressure, that has been put in place by this global effort that President Trump has led, has led him to believe that its in his best interest to come to the table and talk about denuclearization.”
Pompeo, addressing reporters for the first time the nation’s top diplomat after a 15-month tenure as the CIA chief, met privately with Kim during a secret trip to North Korea over Easter weekend. He gave that assessment of the dictator hours after an historic summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who issued a joint statement calling for “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula and “no more war” between the neighbors.
“I’m always careful, there’s a lot of history here where promises have been made, hopes have been raised — and then dashed,” Pompeo added.
Kim traveled to South Korea on Friday, making him the first North Korean leader to cross the border of the Demilitarized Zone in the 65 years since the Korean War. The conflict was halted by an armistice, but there has never been a peace treaty as North Korea has maintained a public hope for the total unification of the peninsula.
“South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula,” Kim and Moon said in a joint statement. “Alleviating the military tension and eliminating the danger of war is a highly significant challenge directly linked to the fate of the Korean people and also a vital task in guaranteeing their peaceful and stable lives.”
The statement also expressed “the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
Many Korea experts are skeptical that Kim plans to follow through on that pledge.
“The fundamental question remains: whatever deal is struck, how do we implement and verify that North Korea is holding up its end?” Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia Program and senior fellow with the Kissinger Institute, told the Washington Examiner. “We must remember: North Korea is still North Korea. Kim is still the same person he was when he purged potential rivals, imprisoned thousands of his people, and had his relatives killed. This was a hopeful moment, but extreme caution is well warranted.”
As Pompeo reiterated, Trump has previously mentioned he would walk away from the peace process should he find the North Korean leader to be anything less than honest and legitimate.
“President Trump has been clear: we’re going to work to get a meeting set up, the two of them will meet,” Pompeo said. “In the event that it fails, respectfully, President Trump will walk away and then the pressure will remain. But in the event we reach a resolution it will be a wonderful thing for the world.”