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US won't make concessions for North Korea while talks are on: CIA chief

Press Trust of India/Washington 12 Mar 18 | 08:09 AM

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US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will ultimately decide what arrangements are acceptable for their meeting, America's top spymaster said on Sunday but asserted that the US will make no concessions to the dictator for the talks.

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo suggested that Pyongyang is buckling under the pressure of US-led international sanctions.

Never before have we had the North Koreans in a position where their economy was at such risk, and where their leadership was under such pressure that they would begin conversations on the terms that Kim Jong Un has conceded to, Pompeo told Fox News.

"Make no mistake: while these negotiations are going on, there will be no concessions made," he said.

"This first meeting is between Trump and the leader of North Korea, the two people who are the decision-makers, who will ultimately decide what arrangements are acceptable, Pompeo said.

CIA, he said has an important role to play in this and keep the president well informed.

"The CIA has an important role as these conversations take place. We need to make sure that we can inform the president of the history of deceit of this regime, where they have committed to things in the agreed framework and that subsequently, we need to make sure that we go into this discussion understanding those risks, he said.

The nature of Kim Jong-un himself, he's still a very young leader, but clearly in charge of his country. Those are the kinds of things that we can share publicly about him and Trump is now committed to having at least a first conversation, Pompeo said in response to a question.

"We know a fair amount about him. We know that he is rational in the sense of the response to stimulus. We have seen this. We've watched this at administration apply pressure and now, we've watched him come to the negotiating table, the CIA head said.

Pompeo said he briefs the president nearly every day.

We have shared with the president every bit of information we have about the country, about its economy, about its missile systems, about how Kim Jong-un might react and how North Korea might respond, how the globe might respond. And the president has built an enormous coalition aimed at the singular outcome, which is the denuclearisation of the peninsula, he said.

Trump, he said, is doing this not for theater, but to solve the problem.

"The location of the meeting will determine the exact timing of the meeting. The president and the team will figure out. But what's most important is what's discussed and the clarity and the strength and resolve of this president and this administration to achieve the outcomes that America so desperately deserves, the CIA director said.

White House principal deputy secretary Raj Shah today said no arrangement for the between Trump and Kim was being "ruled out," including having the dictator visit the White House.

"It is going to be a time and a place to be decided. We don't have an announcement right now, but we have accepted this offer and we hope that it can be the part of an important breakthrough, Shah told ABC news.

When asked whether Trump would consider travelling to Pyongyang, he said, "I don't think that that's highly likely but again, I'm not going to rule anything out."

Shah clarified that no additional preconditions had been imposed on the meeting should North Korea keep its promise not to conduct missile and nuclear tests, nor publicly oppose planned military exercises between the US and South Korea.

Shah said when Trump took office a little over a year ago, inherited a policy that was not working for the previous eight years.

He adopted a policy of a maximum pressure on the North Korean regime. Over the last year, we've seen a lot of success, he said.

"We've seen China dramatically reduce trade with North Korea. We've seen the UN impose some of the toughest sanctions on the North Korean regime. It's been increasingly isolated both diplomatically and economically, with dozens of countries chipping in," he said.

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