Tags: North Korea | Trump Administration | bill richardson | trump | north korea | meeting

Frm. UN Amb. Richardson Warns: Trump-Kim Meeting 'Risky'

Frm. UN Amb. Richardson Warns: Trump-Kim Meeting 'Risky'
(Thet Htoo/AP)

By    |   Friday, 09 March 2018 09:32 AM

Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson warned Friday that the United States and President Donald Trump must be properly prepared before he heads into his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"It's risky," Richardson, New Mexico's former Democratic governor who served as ambassador under President Bill Clinton, told CNN's "New Day" program. 

"We've got to be properly prepared and we cannot underestimate Kim Jong Un. He's evolving into a strategic thinker, into a man with an end game."

The last thing the United States wants to happen is for Trump to "get trapped in a situation, a high-level negotiation where we're not prepared, where we don't have our best negotiators forward," said Richardson.

At the very least, he added, Trump should tell Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "what he's doing."

"They've got missiles," Richardson said. "I think this is big stakes, a big gamble, but I'm supporting the president's effort to do it. Just be careful and don't tweet. Don't tweet. Just stay low."

Tillerson, speaking from Africa Friday, said any meeting between Trump and Kim would take several weeks of planning.

According to CNN, Tillerson said the decision was one Trump "took himself" after the matter was "on his mind for quite some time," after a reporter asked him why, just the day before, he'd said conditions were not right yet for talks with North Korea. 

Richardson said he has traveled to North Korea eight times, and Trump's announcement was "unorthodox and unprecedented," but he remains optimistic.

"I don't think we're going to get an absolute goal of denuclearization," said Richardson. "I think the president needs to temper that. But I'm opposed to 95 percent of what the president does on foreign policy. On this one I'm supporting him."

Richardson also commented that when it comes to a meeting, he's "on the side of the big gamble."

"The North Korean situation, the tension in the peninsula has been so intense, this is the worst state of U.S.-North Korea relations, that you almost need a Hail Mary pass," said Richardson. "You need a home run thrown into the mix. The risks are exactly that, there is not adequate preparation by our military and our negotiators."

Also, Tillerson is trying to recover from not being consulted, and Trump needs to give him and the military some instructions, so that a cohesive strategy can be developed.

"At the first meeting you're not going to make a huge deal on denuclearization, but you may get some kind of a freeze on missile development affecting the United States or Guam, Alaska, [or] some kind of deal that eases the tension with the Koreas in terms of artillery, conventional weapons, some kind of positive steps," said Richardson.

He also said he thinks the United States should take advantage of the plans to pull three Americans being held prisoner out of North Korea, and to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War.

"There's not much time and the North Korean and South Korean president also are meeting" before Trump," said Richardson.

"Maybe we have a little cover to get something done substantially before the two leaders meet. But you're not going to make a final deal with the two leaders. It's going to take years and it's going to cost a lot."

And if there is a deal, it will be "15 times" as costly as the one made with Iran, warned Richardson, because North Korea already has nuclear weapons and two million men in arms.

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Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson warned Friday that the United States and President Donald Trump must be properly prepared before he heads into his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
bill richardson, trump, north korea, meeting
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2018-32-09
Friday, 09 March 2018 09:32 AM
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