Foreign Policy

Trump Makes Progress on North Korea

CIA Director Mike Pompeo lays groundwork for a Trump-Kim summit on denuclearization.

Thomas Gallatin · Apr. 18, 2018

It was recently revealed that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominated to serve as secretary of state, secretly met over Easter weekend with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un with the intention of laying groundwork for a potential meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim to negotiate denuclearization of the rogue nation.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Trump stated via a popular social media site. Speaking to reporters from his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida, where he has been meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump further elaborated, “We’ll either have a very good meeting or we won’t have a good meeting. And maybe we won’t even have a meeting at all, depending on what’s going in. But I think that there’s a great chance to solve a world problem.”

It was also announced that North and South Korea have agreed to talks aimed at finally ending the Korean War, which has never formally concluded, as both sides signed an armistice in 1953 but not a peace treaty. Trump offered his “blessing to discuss the ending of the war,” but an official end will require an agreement from the U.S.

What can be made of these developments? First, this is a further indication that Trump’s sanctions against North Korea are having the desired outcome and that Trump’s tariff threats against China are also reaping a desired effect — convincing Beijing to rein in Kim. Trump alluded to this while praising Chinese President Xi Jingping, stating, “He’s been incredibly generous. President Xi has been very strong on the border — much stronger than anyone thought they would be. … The goods coming into North Korea have been cut down very substantially.”

Second, while Trump would most certainly welcome North Korean denuclearization, he has no intention of entering into an Obama-like Iran deal. It is clear that any deal will get done on Trump’s terms, for the benefit of America, or there will be no deal. And he is clearly not afraid to ratchet up the pressure. Finally, the fact the Pompeo has been strategically involved in this process speaks volumes to his competence for heading the State Department. He clearly is the right man for the job.

If Trump is able to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear threat as well as an official end to the Korean War, he will have achieved more diplomatically than any president since Ronald Reagan.

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