Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone hard out of the gate. He was sworn in by Justice Alito and immediately got on a plane headed to Brussels to meet with NATO allies. While he was in the air, North and South Korea had a historical photo op of crossing the Demilitarized Zone.
But as RedState’s Joe Cunningham pointed out the Korean War can’t end without the President of the United States, in this case, Donald Trump, signing off on any armistice. Pompeo just clarified to the press what the US needs to see from North Korea in order to move this forward and it has to come from North Korea, not the entire peninsula. Saying “We are committed to achieving permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs without delay.” The transcript of the full press conference can be seen here.
In the past @StateDept said the US wants complete, irreversible, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Today Pompeo switched up that language in singling out the need for NK to take action, not the whole peninsula. (2/2)
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) April 27, 2018
There’s no doubt that Pompeo made clear to the North Koreans when he visited as CIA Director what he and the US expect, but ensuring that happens is an entirely different matter. The understandable fear from experts and analysts is that Kim Jong Un is getting much without giving up anything.
It’s also believed that the North Koreans destroyed their own research facility in a massive explosion that is now a pile of radioactive rubble. North Korea is a repressive communist regime and as such facts do not flow freely; any hard evidence of this from the US would be highly classified. That would indicate North Korea isn’t as strong as it is letting on.
No matter what position of strength the North Koreans are or are not negotiating from, having Mike Pompeo consolidate and sharpen US messaging on behalf of the President should be welcomed. Messaging has been the most consistent obstacle for the diplomatic community under this administration and hopefully, Pompeo can restore solid messaging which is as vital as the showing force in deference.