WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that if North Korea agrees to full denuclearization, the United States is prepared to “provide security assurances” for the Pyongyang government and allow private American investment to build out the country’s woefully inadequate electrical grid.
“We will have to provide security assurances, to be sure,” the top U.S. diplomat told Fox News. “This is a trade-off that has been pending for 25 years.”
He said that until President Donald Trump, “No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible, that the Americans would actually do this, leading to the place where America was no longer held at risk by the North Korean regime. That’s the objective.”
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After meeting twice with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, Pompeo said he is “convinced” that Kim “shares the objective of the American people.”
Pompeo said the goal of the June 12 summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore is to “set out those markers” where terms of denuclearization and security assurances could be negotiated and finalized.
In a separate interview on CBS News, Pompeo said that in nuclear negotiations over the years, North Korea has not “proved worthy of their promises. But we’re hopeful that this will be different, that we won’t do the traditional model where they do something, and we give them a bunch of money, and then both sides walk away. We’re hoping this will be bigger, different, faster. Our ask is complete and total denuclearization of North Korea, and it is the president’s intention to achieve that.”
Pompeo told Fox that if denuclearization is achieved, the U.S. would allow “private sector Americans… help build out the energy grid that needs enormous amounts of electricity in North Korea.” He also said Americans would also help invest in North Korean infrastructure and agriculture if Pyongyang meets U.S. demands on ending its nuclear weapons program.
However, in a CNN interview, national security adviser John Bolton ruled out direct economic aid from the U.S. government to North Korea. He credited the “maximum pressure” of Trump’s economic sanctions on North Korea to Kim’s announced willingness to abandon the country’s nuclear weapons program.
Pyongyang says it is dismantling its nuclear bomb test site sometime between May 23 and 25 and said that western observers would be allowed in to watch as tunnels at the site are collapsed with explosives and research buildings and security posts destroyed.
Pompeo said, “Every single site that the North Koreans have that can inflict risk upon the American people that is destroyed, eliminated, dismantled is good news for the American people and for the world. And so this is one step along the way.”
On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter, “Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!” Trump said Saturday on Twitter.
While the U.S. expressed willingness for private investment in North Korea, Bolton said that renewed economic sanctions against Iran after Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the 2015 international accord restraining Tehran’s nuclear program could be “quite dramatic.” He described Iran’s economy as “quite shaky.”
European allies of the U.S. opposed Trump’s abrogation of the Iran pact. Bolton said it is possible that the U.S. could block European companies from doing business in the U.S. if they continue to do business with Iran.