The difference could not be more stark, just one year after blasting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as quote rocket man on a suicide mission. US President Donald Trump at this year’s United Nations General Assembly speech called Kim quote courageous. And just days ago highlighted their chemistry during a recent political rally in West Virginia.
“When I did it and I was really being tough and so was he. I will go back and forth and then we fell in love, okay?No, really he wrote me beautiful letters and they’re great letters, we fell in love.”
Secretary of Mike Pompeo heading to Pyongyang in the coming days expressed high hopes for the coming meeting with Kim.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll come away from that with better understandings deeper progress. And a plan forward not only for the summit between the two leaders, but for us to continue the efforts to build out a pathway for denuclearization.”
North Korea has been asking for an official end to the Korean War, but Washington says Pyongyang must give up its nuclear weapons first. The United States has also resisted calls to relax harsh international sanctions.
“The economic sanctions continue to remain in place, the core proposition the thing which will give us the capacity to deliver denuclearization isn’t changing.”
While securing a second summit will not be difficult insuring, such talks will produce substantive progress toward denuclearization will be challenging, according to analysts.
“The question is what is Kim willing to give up, is he willing to make big concessions on denuclearization? I think the South Koreans are pushing him to do that, the South wants to make major investments in North Korea. But this all hinges on Kim now is willing to make a move. History shows us the North Koreans will only go up to a certain point, then they back off or they lie or they cheat.”
Pompeo’s fourth visit to North Korea comes days after South Korea acknowledged North Korea may have stockpiled as many as 60 nuclear weapons. But Kazianis said the prospect of a second summit could be a source of US leverage.
For Nike Ching at the State Department, Elizabeth Cherneff VOA News.