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Pompeo: U.S. Promises Not to Seek Regime Change Against Repressive North Korea

Mike Pompeo, Kang Kyung-wha
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Appearing on Fox News Sunday this weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will “provide security assurances” to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un at his summit with President Donald Trump in June, including a promise not to overthrow the Kim regime.

Fox News host Chris Wallace asked if the U.S. would commit to taking regime change “off the table,” effectively promising Kim Jong-un, “If you give us what we want, you can stay in power.”

“We will have to provide security assurances, to be sure,” Pompeo replied.

“This has been the trade-off that has been pending for 25 years. No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible that the Americans would actually do this, would lead to the place where America was no longer held at risk by the North Korean regime. That’s the objective,” he said.

Wallace asked if Pompeo was troubled by the thought of securing an “oppressive regime” like Kim’s in power, given the heinous history of his family’s rule.

“Make no mistake about it: America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into L.A. or Denver or to the very place we are sitting here this morning,” Pompeo responded.

To that end, Pompeo saluted reports that North Korea will decommission its primary nuclear test site later this month as “good news.”

“Every single site that the North Koreans have that can inflict risk upon the American people that is destroyed, eliminated, dismantled is good news for the American people and for the world,” he said.

Pompeo said that helping North Korea develop a more reliable non-nuclear electric grid and provide a better standard of living for its people will be part of the deal President Trump hopes to strike with Kim.

“Here’s what this will look like: this will be Americans coming in—private-sector Americans, not the U.S. taxpayer, private-sector Americans—helping build the energy grid,” he added. “They need enormous amounts of electricity in North Korea, to work with them to develop infrastructure. All the things that the North Korean people need, the capacity for American agriculture to support North Korea so they can eat meat and have healthy lives.”

In return, he said the North Koreans will have to do much more than play the “trade for trade, moment for moment” diplomatic game that has “failed repeatedly” over the past three decades.

“I think Chairman Kim understands that. I think he appreciates the fact that this is going to have to be different and big and special, and something that has never been undertaken before. If we are going to get to this historic outcome, both sides have to be prepared to take a truly measures to achieve it,” said Pompeo.

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