CIA director Mike Pompeo has defended the Trump administration’s decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying that the President is fully aware of the risks involved.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Pompeo said the administration has its “eyes wide open” with regards to the regime’s history of failing to comply with previous agreements. He also credited President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose greater pressure on North Korea with having “a real impact.”
“This administration has its eyes wide open and the whole time this conversation takes place, the pressure will continue to mount on North Korea,” Pompeo said. “We’ve gotten more than any previous administration — an agreement to not continue testing nuclear weapons and their missile program,” he added. “That’s critical.”
In a separate interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the CIA director said the summit was not for show. “President Trump isn’t doing this for theater. He’s going to solve a problem,” Pompeo said.
Last week, Trump accepted an invitation delivered via a South Korean envoy to meet with Kim before May this year. South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, said that North Korea had agreed to pause its nuclear weapons and missile testing programs in the run-up to the talks. The summit would be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Kim also agreed to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at the unprecedented meeting. The country’s weapons programs has been the source of heightened tensions over the past year that at times saw Trump and Kim trade threats of annihilation.
Pompeo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who also appeared on network talk shows Sunday, vowed that the U.S. would maintain pressure on North Korea with economic sanctions ahead of the talks, while military exercises would also go ahead as planned, Reuters reports. The U.S. and South Korea have delayed planned joint-military drills in an effort to deescalate tensions ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.