Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missiles programs “is a decades-long challenge” while speaking with troops on a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Monday.
“Look, this is a decades-long challenge, getting the North Koreans to make a fundamental strategic decision, which is that the nuclear weapons that they possess today frankly present a threat to them and not security,” Pompeo reportedly said.
The State Department, to dispel any misunderstanding, clarified that Pompeo’s use of “decades” was in reference to how long the United States has been confronted by the threat of a nuclear weapons program in North Korea, not a timeline for resolving the crisis.
“For decades,” the Korean dictatorship “told their own people that without nuclear weapons their country was at risk of being attacked by the west, by America, by some other country,” Pompeo said.
He said the United States must now “get the entire country to understand that they have that strategically wrong. Chairman Kim told President Trump he understood that. I was there. I saw it.” He reportedly added, “To think that this would happen in the course of a handful of hours would have been ludicrous, and I’ve been accused of many things, but not that.”
Also on Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted his “confidence” that the document signed by him and Kim at the conclusion of the North Korea-U.S. summit last month will be upheld by the so-called “Hermit Kingdom.”
“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake,” Trump tweeted. “We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”
I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
There appeared to be some discord from within Kim’s government when an unnamed spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry said President Trump’s administration is using “gangster-like diplomacy” tactics to get the nation to dismantle its nuclear program.
“We had expected that the US side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders’ summit,” the unnamed spokesperson reportedly said in a statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “We were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures. However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting [between the countries] was no doubt regrettable.”
In response to this, Pompeo said, “If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster.”