With North Korean officials heading to the US to meet with Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo, in an effort to restart progress on nuclear
disarmament, Vice President Mike Pence has issued a statement complaining that North Korea has not taken “concrete steps” to disarm.
Pence’s comments are reflective of the Trump Administration’s expectation that North Korea will unilaterally give up its program first, and wait for any US concessions, including a peace treaty, to come after the fact.
But it comes amid North Korea expressing very publicly their concerns about this idea, with discomfort both at giving up all their leverage without getting anything in return, and that even when North Korea was closing down facilities, the US was increasing sanctions and cracking down even further in an attempt to “maximize pressure.”
This puts Pompeo in a tough spot for his upcoming meeting, as the administration seems loath to offer North Korea any incentives, or even to stop escalating their disincentives in return for compliance. This puts him in a position to try to put a nicer spin on the status quo that North Korea has already made clear is unacceptable.
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