Thaw with North Korea?

Tsalagi

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#1
President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that his choice for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, had visited North Korea recently for one-on-one talks with Kim Jong Un. But a review of Pompeo's comments over the past year shows he started sending messages to the North Korean leader long ago.

An NBC News review of Pompeo's public comments reveals a change in tenor from belligerence to diplomacy. Just three weeks before he left on his secret mission, he called Kim "a very young leader who is clearly in charge of his country."

John McLaughlin, the former acting and deputy director of the CIA, thinks that whether Pompeo is speaking to Congress or a think tank seminar or a Sunday morning talk show, his intended audience, particularly in recent days, has been Kim.

"[His] most recent remarks are meant as much for Kim's ears as for anyone else," said McLaughlin, now an NBC News analyst.

After becoming CIA director in January 2017, Pompeo, a former tea party Republican congressman from Kansas, quickly established a rapport with President Trump. Both shared a propensity for less-than-diplomatic language.

Pompeo's first extended comment on Kim came at the Aspen Security Forum in late July 2017, a time when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea were high, with each side lobbing personal attacks and a flurry of threats. Pompeo told the audience that Trump had asked him to take the lead on North Korea, and then sparked controversy with an apparent call for regime change in Pyongyang.

"It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that," said Pompeo, "but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today. … I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system," Pompeo added. "The North Korean people I'm sure are lovely people and would love to see him go."

McLaughlin thinks Pompeo has probably learned a lesson.

"You can see the shift in emphasis and something else: a growing awareness on Pompeo's part that what the CIA Director says is widely analyzed and has impact for better or for worse; I'm not sure that as a former congressman he fully grasped that at the beginning, say in the Aspen talk."

Since Aspen, Pompeo has continued to suggest that the North's economic and political situation is deteriorating, but he's softened his rhetoric. And he's also inferred Kim may not know just how bad things are, that they yes-men around him are afraid to bring him bad news.

In January, speaking to the American Enterprise Institute, Pompeo made the first of several comments that Kim needs a better assessment of his country's increasingly dire situation.

"We're concerned that he may not be getting really good, accurate information. It is not a healthy thing to be a senior leader and bring bad news to Kim Jong Un. Tell someone you're going to do that, and try to get life insurance. I dare you."

"So we are doing — we're taking the real-world actions that we think will make unmistakable to Kim Jong Un that we are intent on denuclearization. We're counting on the fact that he'll see it. We're confident that he will. And then, we will continue to have discussions about how to achieve that denuclearization."

McLaughlin said the statements were a clear invitation to Kim.

Well, there's another "WW III threat" that Trump's administration has deescalated!
Now let's all breath a little easier and have a cuppa'
 

Tsalagi

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#5
North Korea has freed three U.S. citizens detained for years in the communist country, bowing to another demand of President Trump ahead of his planned meeting with Kim Jong-un.
The three Americans — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim — were released from a North Korean labor camp and sent to Pyongyang for medical treatment, the Financial Times reported.

“We believe that Mr. Trump can take them back on the day of the U.S.-North Korea summit, or he can send an envoy to take them back to the U.S. before the summit,” said Choi Sung-ryong, an activist pursuing release of North Korea’s political prisoners.​

Legit whoa if true. And we sincerely hope the reports are true.