Former New Mexico governor and veteran diplomat Bill Richardson said on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is “two for three” in his dealings with North Korea, despite accusations from the Hermit Kingdom that he engaged in “gangster-like” behavior during a recent visit.
“The first two to set up the summit were good,” Richardson told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “But this one I don’t think turned out well because of the difference that we have in terms of what each side wants to achieve.”
Pompeo visited the Communist country for the third time on Friday – the first following the historic summit between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and President Trump in May – in an effort to encourage Pyongyang to get rid of its nuclear weapons, which received a chilly response from North Korean officials.
“The U.S. side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization,” a North Korea Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement, later saying the country cherishes “our good faith in President Trump.”
One mistake Richardson said the U.S. made in its negotiations with Pyongyang was “going first” and announcing the termination of some military exercises with South Korea. Still, the veteran diplomat sees the need for Pompeo, with the backing of the president, to continue negotiating with North Korea for the sake of the U.S., its allies in the region and the rest of the world.
“They’re going to continue being difficult, shifting, Richardson warned of Pyongyang’s negotiating tactics. “Our objective and the world’s objective should be to curb their use, to have some stringent efforts to stop proliferation, to freeze some of those weapons, to find verification methods.”
Richardson explained that the results would not be immediate, and said the status quo is not a good option.
“It’s not gonna take one year … maybe over two years, significant efforts can be made, but we gotta be patient. We gotta give Pompeo that flexibility to continue these efforts, to push hard and see where we end up,” he said.