CIA Director Mike Pompeo says the North Koreans have reached out to South Korea to begin talks because they’re being “strangled” by President Trump who has made clear their behavior is “unacceptable.”
“The North Koreans are in a tough spot,” Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday." “President Trump has made very clear that the U.S. policy is denuclearization of the peninsula and that we are going to achieve that. You see the North Koreans doing what they have historically done, reaching out, trying to find space, trying to come up for air when they are being strangled by a president who’s made very clear that their behavior is unacceptable.”
South Korea offered to hold high-level talks with North Korea this week after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was open to negotiations as his country aims to strengthen its nuclear weapons program.
The talks are expected to be focused on North Korea’s participation in the Olympics, but could shift to the denuclearization of North Korea.
“The North Koreans are behaving out of fear,” Pompeo said. “They are very concerned that America, for the first time in an awfully long time, is serious about denuclearizing the peninsula. I think they are trying to find a foothold, trying to find a place to reach out.”
Pompeo also defended Trump’s tweet, in which the president taunted the North Korean leader with his “bigger” nuclear button, saying that it was “consistent” with what the U.S. is trying to communicate to North Korea.
“We want the regime to understand that unlike before, we are intent on resolving this, and it is our firm conviction that resolving this diplomatically is the correct answer,” he said. “But this administration is prepared to do what it takes to ensure that people in Los Angeles and Denver and New York aren't held at risk from Kim Jong Un having a nuclear weapon. That tweet is entirely consistent with that policy.”