It has been reported that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his displeasure before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, using the word “liars” in referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean presidential national security adviser Chung Eui-yong. Many experts say that the turbulent dynamics among Washington, Seoul, and Pyongyang, felt right after the summit wasn’t much of a result of the failure of clinching a deal than it was an implosion of dissatisfaction and distrust accumulated on the Washington side during the run-up to the Hanoi meeting.
According to multiple sources, Secretary Pompeo met with government officials from Seoul at the funeral of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush in December and is alleged to have told them that as far as denuclearization is concerned, Kim Jong Un is a “liar” and cannot be trusted. His remarks came up when the possibility of a dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang was starting to revive. The U.S. state secretary is reported to have made a comment with the intent that while Washington prefers a bottom-up approach, Kim Jong Un only wants a top-down deal struck by the heads of state and just to put on a show, which in turn ruins the process of denuclearization talks.
It has also been said that Secretary Pompeo also called Chung Eui-yong, a “liar” in his phone calls with South Korean government officials. After his visit to Pyongyang, Chung conveyed the message to Washington signaling Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization last year, so Pompeo’s expression appears to be an accusation about the veracity of Chung’s message as the North has been stalling time without taking steps towards disarming its nuclear capacities. In addition, during a meeting with South Korean officials in last December, Mr. Pompeo is reported to have made a comment that Seoul is going too far when there is no progress made towards denuclearization, mentioning the Moon administration’s drive to press ahead with inter-Korean economic cooperation projects.
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