The United States is prepared to offer North Korea security assurances and bountiful private investment if it makes the strategic choice to give up its nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged Sunday.
The US price for normalization complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization is one Pyongyang has never before been willing to pay, seeing nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantee of the regime’s survival.
But both countries have been on charm offensives ahead of the summit June 12 in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the first ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
On Saturday, North Korea said it will destroy its nuclear test site later this month, a gesture Trump quickly hailed as “very smart and gracious.” Pompeo, who has met twice with Kim, described him as well-informed and attuned to western media coverage, a leader “who knows his brief” and what he wants to achieve.
The secretary said he was “convinced” Kim shared US goals. “We will have to provide security assurances, to be sure,” Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday. “This has been the trade-off that has been pending for 25 years. No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible.”
“Our eyes are wide open with respect to the risks, but it is our fervent hope that Chairman Kim wants to make a strategic change,” he said. If Kim makes such a change, he said, “President Trump is prepared to assure that there’s going to be a successful transition.”
Pompeo dangled the prospect of a gusher of US investment in North Korea, with upgrades in energy, infrastructure, technology and agriculture, if a deal is struck.