North Korea nuclear crisis

Pompeo: US will need to give North Korea security assurances

Secretary of state made the remark after he was asked if Washington was effectively telling Kim Jong-un he could stay in power if he met US demands

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2018, 11:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 May, 2018, 4:45pm

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the US will need to “provide security assurances” to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un if the adversaries are to reach a nuclear deal.

Pompeo met Kim last week in North Korea, helping set the stage for President Donald Trump’s summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12.

Trump’s goal is to have North Korea get rid of its nuclear weapons in a permanent and verifiable way. In return, the US is willing to help the impoverished nation strengthen its economy.

Pompeo was asked on Fox News Sunday whether the US was in effect telling Kim he could stay in power if he met the US demands. Pompeo said: “We will have to provide security assurances, to be sure.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promises to make North Korea rich if it agrees to denuclearise

The top US diplomat did not elaborate, but his comment could refer to the type of assurances North Korea has sought in the past. A statement issued during international negotiations with North Korea in 2005 over its nuclear weapons development said the “United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade with nuclear or conventional weapons”.

The North has said it needs nuclear weapons to counter what it believes is a US effort to strangle its economy and overthrow the Kim government.

“Make no mistake about it, America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into LA or Denver or to the very place we’re sitting here this morning,” Pompeo said from Washington. “That’s our objective, that’s the end state the president has laid out and that’s the mission that he sent me on this past week, to put us on the trajectory to go achieve that.”

Pompeo also told Fox News that the US wants to work with its European partners on a new agreement to counter Iran’s “malign behaviour” after Washington withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal.

“I’m hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behaviour, not just their nuclear programme, but their missiles and their malign behaviour as well.” he said. “And I will work closely with the Europeans to try and achieve that.”

I think the Europeans will see that it’s in their interest ultimately to come along with us
John Bolton

Meanwhile, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, White House National Security adviser John Bolton had a very different message for the Europeans. 

The well-known hawk said it was “possible” that the US could slap sanctions on European companies that do business with Iran.

“It’s possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments,” Bolton told CNN when pressed on whether there could be American economic sanctions on European firms.

Trump’s pull-out from the 2015 nuclear deal has upset Washington’s European allies, cast uncertainty over global oil supplies and raised the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

So far, China, France, Russia, Britain, the EU and Iran are still in the accord.

“I think the Europeans will see that it’s in their interest ultimately to come along with us,” Bolton said, adding that Europe was still digesting the information. “I think at the moment there’s some feeling in Europe - they’re really surprised we got out of it, really surprised at the reimposition of strict sanctions. I think that will sink in; we’ll see what happens then.” 

Additional reporting by Reuters