CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Sunday the United States won’t make any concessions to North Korea before President Donald Trump meets with the nation’s leader.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un must “stop the missile testing that he’s been hard at for the past year, continue to allow us to perform our military-necessary exercises on the peninsula, and then he’s got to make sure that he leaves on the table that discussion for denuclearization,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.”
He and other administration officials deflected questions about where the meeting would take place.
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Sunday “nothing’s being ruled out” in terms of selecting a location.
“I have no announcement — it’s a time and a place to be determined,” Shah said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked if Trump were willing to host Kim Jong Un at the White House or travel to Pyongyang.
The White House on Thursday announced it accepted an invitation to meet with Kim, who extended the offer for a face-to-face meeting with Trump via a South Korean envoy. Kim told South Korean officials he would be willing to suspend nuclear missile testing that Trump has railed against until discussions are held with the United States.
“He has stated a commitment to denuclearization to South Korea; they’ve relayed that to us, so we’re open to this invitation,” Shah said, referring to Kim’s pledge to halt missile testing.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said denuclearization of North Korea was “the objective” of meeting with Kim and credited U.S. sanctions against North Korea with creating the conditions that led Kim to seek a rare meeting with the United States.
“I do believe . . . a major reason why they’re having this meeting is because the economic sanctions have had a very big impact on both their economy and their ability to get pieces of material and other things they need for their weapons program,” Mnuchin said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she was pleased to see the administration pursue a diplomatic strategy with North Korea, but she worried that Trump would be “taken advantage of” in the negotiations with North Korea.
“The problem right now is that these are very complicated negotiations. There are a lot of issues involved in them. And our State Department has just been decimated. We don’t have an ambassador to South Korea. We don’t have an assistant secretary for this entire region,” Warren said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I want the president to succeed. When the president succeeds in negotiations like this, the United States succeeds. It makes us safer. It makes the whole world safer. But I am very worried that he’s going to go into these negotiations and be taken advantage of.”
Ben Rhodes, who served as President Barack Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, told ABC’s “This Week” the “nation should be rooting for diplomacy to work with North Korea,” but added that he was concerned by Trump’s depleted ranks of State Department officials with expertise in the area. The Trump administration has yet to appoint a new U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
“This is not a real estate deal or a reality show,” Rhodes said. “When you’re in a negotiation as complex as a North Korean nuclear program, and a situation that is volatile as the Korean Peninsula, you need diplomats.”