Tags: North Korea | Trump Administration | pompeo | north korea | trump | kim jong un | nukes

Mike Pompeo 'Regrets' Not Getting North Korea to Give Up Nukes

mike pompeo shakes hands with kim jong un
In this handout provided by The White House, then-CIA director Mike Pompeo (L) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated image in Pyongyang, North Korea. (The White House via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 01 April 2021 08:28 AM

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that one of his regrets is that the Trump administration failed to get North Korea and its leader, Kim Jung Un, to give up the country's nuclear weapons. 

"I regret that we didn't make more progress," Pompeo, who is being considered as a potential White House candidate in 2024, says in an interview Thursday, reports The Hill, quoting the conservative podcast "Ruthless," which spoke with the former secretary. "We convinced him not to do more nuclear testing and more long-range missile testing, but we weren't able to get him to give up his nuclear program."

Pompeo, during the interview, reflected on his trip to North Korea in April 2018, when photos released showed him shaking hands with Kim. At the time, Pompeo was still the director of the CIA, and that meeting had been considered a major break from U.S. policy, which was to isolate North Korea and withhold international recognition. 

But Pompeo said his trip had been made to "take the tension level down" after then-President Donald Trump warned there would be "fire and fury" if North Korea threatened the United States. 

"We were trying to take the tension level down and create a situation where we could have a rational discussion," Pompeo said. "The president was prepared to consider whether a summit might be appropriate. It was really quite the, quite the experience."

Trump and Kim met in person twice, but neither trip resulted in the denuclearization of North Korea. 

"When I became CIA director, [I] had no earthly idea that one day I'd be on a quiet plane traveling in the dark to land at an airstrip in Pyongyang to meet Chairman Kim, who had committed the most horrific crimes against humanity," he told the podcast, while talking about the death of American college student Otto Warmbier. 

Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea after stealing a poster, was returned to the U.S. in a vegetative state in June 2017 and died shortly thereafter. Trump later came under fire from Warmbier's family after meeting with Kim in 2019 and saying he would take the leader "at his word" that he did not know about how the student been treated before his release. 

Pompeo said in the podcast that he'd had a few months to prepare for his initial trip to North Korea, "but nothing can quite prepare you for being there."

The former secretary's second trip to North Korea came shortly after his confirmation in May 2018, when he went to retrieve three Americans who had been imprisoned and charged with espionage. 

Meanwhile, Pyongyang is still maintaining a nuclear weapons capability. It further raised tensions after the election of President Joe Biden by conducting a ballistic missile test last week that the president said violated a United Nations resolution. 

Biden said that he will be consulting with U.S. allies concerning responses to the weapons test. He also said that the administration is prepared for "some form of diplomacy" with North Korea, but that has to be done on the condition of denuclearization. 

The White House said this week that Biden does not intend to meet in person with Kim like Trump did. 

"I think his approach would be quite different and that is not his intention," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. 

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that one of his regrets is that the Trump administration failed to get North Korea and its leader, Kim Jung Un, to give up the country's nuclear weapons. "I regret that we didn't...
pompeo, north korea, trump, kim jong un, nukes
Thursday, 01 April 2021 08:28 AM
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