by WorldTribune Staff, October 23, 2017
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that the Trump administration is intent on preventing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un from reaching the “end state” of “having the capacity to hold the United States at risk with a nuclear weapons system.”
Does preventing the “end state” include regime change in Pyongyang?
“With respect to if Kim Jong-Un should vanish, I just, you know, given the history of the CIA, I’m just not going to talk about that. Someone might think there was a coincidence if, you know, there was an accident,” Pompeo said at the Oct. 19 Foundation for Defense of Democracies National Security Summit.
At an Oct. 23 meeting in the Philippines with U.S. and South Korean defense ministers, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera enunciated a sharper assessment of the North Korea crisis than his counterparts.
“(The) threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level,” he said. “Therefore, we have to take calibrated and different responses to meet with that level of threat.”
In his remarks, Pompeo was blunt about the challenge faced by the United States and its East Asian allies.
The consensus of U.S. intelligence “is that Kim Jong-Un’s mission is to stay in power,” Pompeo said.
“And to the extent that is his singular objective, that is, if that’s your only goal – and he views his only tool to continue to have to hold the world at risk with a nuclear weapon. Then, so long as he’s got that tool, there’s nothing – you can’t deter him from continuing down that path because he has a singular goal and a singular tool. So you can’t deter him by conventional means.”
Pompeo said that “you couldn’t build a weapons system that would threaten him because he views getting to the finish line on that as the sole tool he needs to stay in power. Rightly or wrongly, he has concluded that and so he’s marching to it. So there’s no external activity that could be undertaken to convince him to stop that, until such time as he concludes that there’s another way, or a better way, or a greater risk to him from continuing down that path.”
North Korea, Pompeo said, is “closer now than they were five years ago,” to having the capability of striking the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, “and I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today, absent a global effort to push back against them. That is each test, successful or unsuccessful, as defined in the West, continues to develop Kim Jong-Un and his engineers’ and scientists’ knowledge base. They are intent upon completing that whole chain of activity, and it is the case that they are close enough now in their capabilities that from a U.S. policy perspective, we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective.
“We are at a time where the president has concluded that we need a global effort to ensure that Kim Jong-Un doesn’t have that capacity.”
View Pompeo’s full appearance at the FDD National Security Summit here