CIA's Pompeo: North Korea Afraid Trump Is Serious About Denuclearization

By Susan Jones | January 8, 2018 | 5:07 AM EST

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (Photo: Screen grab/"Fox News Sunday")

( - Representatives of the North Korean government are scheduled to meet on Tuesday with their counterparts from South Korea in the demilitarized zone. The first formal talks in two years are expected to focus on North Korea's interest in sending athletes to the winter games in Seoul.

"Fox News Sunday" asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo if the talks are a "good thing," or if they are intended to "drive a wedge" between the U.S. and South Korea:

"Look, the North Koreans are in a tough spot," Pompeo said. "President Trump has made very clear that the U.S. policy is denuclearization of the peninsula, and that we are going to achieve that.

"So, you see the North Koreans doing what they have historically done, reaching out, trying to find space, trying to come up for air when they are being strangled by a president who's made very clear that their behavior is unacceptable.

"And so, yes, this is certainly part of that. We'll see how the talks go on Tuesday of this week and what they are able to resolve with respect to the Olympics. But the American position is unchanged."

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley articulated the American position last week, when she said the U.S. won't take the talks seriously, if "they don't do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea."

"The North Koreans are behaving out of fear, that is, they are very concerned that America for the first time in an awfully long time is serious about denuclearizing the peninsula," Pompeo told "Fox News Sunday. "And I think they are finding -- trying to find a foothold, trying to find a place to reach out. And we'll -- we'll just have to wait and see how the conversations go on Tuesday."

Host Chris Wallace asked Pompeo about President Trump's tweet, where he said he had a "much bigger and more powerful" nuclear button on his desk than North Korea's dictator has:

"How is that helpful to get in this back-and-forth of taunts with the leader whom you and the CIA judge as unstable?" Wallace asked.

"This is the first time in an awfully long time that American policy has been consistent," Pompeo said.

"That tweet is entirely consistent with what we are trying to communicate. We want the regime to understand that unlike before, we are intent on resolving this, and it is our firm conviction that resolving this diplomatically is the correct answer. But that this administration is prepared to do what it takes to ensure that people in Los Angeles and Denver and New York aren't held at risk from Kim Jong-un having a nuclear weapon. That tweet is entirely consistent with that policy."

Pompeo said he disagrees with those who say Trump's tweet trivializes the possibility of nuclear war:

"We in this administration understand the seriousness of what it is we're undertaking," Pompeo said. "We understand the threat. We speak -- I speak with the president about it nearly every day.

"But we are intent upon laying out a set of plans that achieve the goal that, frankly, previous administrations have been unprepared to engage in."

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