In remarks to reporters on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that foreign policy experts and media pundits should hold off on their predictions about what will happen as President Trump meets with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on June 12. Pompeo, who has spoken personally with the reclusive dictator on two separate occasions, said there is cause to be optimistic about the possibility of a successful summit.
“He has indicted to me personally that he is prepared to denuclearize,” Pompeo said. “President Trump will not stand for a bad deal.”
By this latter statement, Pompeo sought to assure Americans that Trump was seeking nothing less than an agreement that North Korea would completely give up their nuclear weapons program.
“In the past, there have been months and months of detailed negotiations, and they got nowhere,” Pompeo said, throwing shade at previous administrations. This time, he said, things would be different because the man at the top of the chain – Trump – was determined to make a deal in the interests of global peace.
In remarks of his own to reporters on Thursday, the president was optimistic but realistic about the prospects of getting to a deal. He even said that he would consider inviting Kim to the U.S if the talks in Singapore went well.
“Certainly if it goes well, and I think it would be well received, I think he would look at it very favorably, so I think that could happen,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
Trump said, however, that he was fully willing to walk away from any potential deal if North Korea was not willing to agree to his terms.
“I did it once before,” he said. “I hope it won’t be necessary to walk because I really believe that Kim Jong-un wants to do something that is going to be great for his people, and also great for his family and great for himself.”
The alternative to a deal could be catastrophic – the prospect of full-scale war between the U.S. and North Korea. And while there is little doubt about the ultimate outcome of such a confrontation, the devastation in terms of casualties could be significant and overwhelming. North Korea’s ability to rain a nightmare of conventional artillery down on the South is beyond dispute, and there remains a chance that Kim would even use one of his precious nukes to wreak havoc abroad. Such a scenario would mean the end for Kim and his family’s North Korean dynasty, but let’s hope for the world’s sake that Trump can find a more peaceful solution to this dictator’s mad reign of terror.