Pompeo's Pyongyang visit yields agreement for inspection of key nuke site

Step by step, Kim Jong-un is yielding concessions to the United States, building trust in his quest for relief from the sanctions crushing his regime.  Secretary of state Mike Pompeo just completed a visit to Pyongyang with another step forward in the process of de-nuclearization.  The New York Times reports:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that in his meeting with Kim Jong-un on Sunday, the leader of North Korea had agreed to allow inspectors into a key nuclear testing site that the North has claimed it blew up, a down payment on the country's commitment to denuclearize the country. ...

[T]he North's agreement [is] to allow inspectors into Punggye-ri, a network of underground tunnels where the North has conducted all of its nuclear tests, including one last September that it claimed was a successful test of a hydrogen bomb.

As the Times notes, not even Secretary Pompeo is characterizing this as a "breakthrough."  It is, rather, a step, a gradual move forward.  That is almost certainly the way that progress will be made, since North Korea regards its nuclear arsenal as its insurance policy against being wiped out.  It will yield the security blanket only gradually, and only in return for increasing signs of security.


Pompeo's March 2018 meeting with Kim.

Kim Jong-un understands better than his father and grandfather the cost of being a pariah state, having spent a good part of his youth in a Swiss boarding school.  He may have all the Napoleon cognac, lavish banquets, Mercedes limos, and sex slaves his predecessors enjoyed, but he doesn't have what President Trump offered him if the denuclearization process succeeds: acceptance and honor overseas, glittery development, and full access to modernity.

Secretary Pompeo is playing the bad cop to Trump's good cop and giving away as little as possible in return for as much as possible.  Trump is the enthusiast ("we fell in love") for the potential of denuclearization, while Pompeo demands concrete steps.  Right now, the prize the North Koreans want is another Trump-Kim summit.  They won't get it without more.

"As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today," Mr. Pompeo said.  "It was another step forward.  So this is, I think, a good outcome for all of us."

If Trump were a Democrat, you would see mainstream media falling all over themselves with praise for the "workman-like," "methodical," "careful" approach to solving the "thorniest national security issue" that was "inherited from his predecessor."

Step by step, Kim Jong-un is yielding concessions to the United States, building trust in his quest for relief from the sanctions crushing his regime.  Secretary of state Mike Pompeo just completed a visit to Pyongyang with another step forward in the process of de-nuclearization.  The New York Times reports:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that in his meeting with Kim Jong-un on Sunday, the leader of North Korea had agreed to allow inspectors into a key nuclear testing site that the North has claimed it blew up, a down payment on the country's commitment to denuclearize the country. ...

[T]he North's agreement [is] to allow inspectors into Punggye-ri, a network of underground tunnels where the North has conducted all of its nuclear tests, including one last September that it claimed was a successful test of a hydrogen bomb.

As the Times notes, not even Secretary Pompeo is characterizing this as a "breakthrough."  It is, rather, a step, a gradual move forward.  That is almost certainly the way that progress will be made, since North Korea regards its nuclear arsenal as its insurance policy against being wiped out.  It will yield the security blanket only gradually, and only in return for increasing signs of security.


Pompeo's March 2018 meeting with Kim.

Kim Jong-un understands better than his father and grandfather the cost of being a pariah state, having spent a good part of his youth in a Swiss boarding school.  He may have all the Napoleon cognac, lavish banquets, Mercedes limos, and sex slaves his predecessors enjoyed, but he doesn't have what President Trump offered him if the denuclearization process succeeds: acceptance and honor overseas, glittery development, and full access to modernity.

Secretary Pompeo is playing the bad cop to Trump's good cop and giving away as little as possible in return for as much as possible.  Trump is the enthusiast ("we fell in love") for the potential of denuclearization, while Pompeo demands concrete steps.  Right now, the prize the North Koreans want is another Trump-Kim summit.  They won't get it without more.

"As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today," Mr. Pompeo said.  "It was another step forward.  So this is, I think, a good outcome for all of us."

If Trump were a Democrat, you would see mainstream media falling all over themselves with praise for the "workman-like," "methodical," "careful" approach to solving the "thorniest national security issue" that was "inherited from his predecessor."