WASHINGTON – Newly sworn-in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Wednesday that a bad agreement with North Korea is not an option and promised that the Donald Trump administration will not make the same mistakes as past presidents in dealing with Pyongyang.
Pompeo was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence – with Trump in attendance – and gave a brief acceptance speech after taking the oath of office
The former CIA director emphasized that “We are but 15 months in this administration and we have already made outstanding progress by speaking the truth about the challenges we face, by confronting them head on, but partnering with strong nations to make America and the world more prosperous and secure.”
He said that US efforts to achieve – via diplomacy – the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula were still “in the beginning stages” and it is not yet certain whether those efforts will bear fruit.
“We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay,” Pompeo said.
Trump visited the State Department on Wednesday for the first time in the 15 months he has been in office, while his predecessor, Barack Obama, accompanied his own secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, there on his first day on the job.
Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson as the top US diplomat after Trump fired the former secretary of state in mid-March.
The president said at the ceremony that “Mike has ... earned my deepest respect, admiration and trust. And you’ll see why over the coming years, probably over the coming months. I have absolute confidence he will do an incredible job.”
“I must say, that’s more spirit than I’ve heard from the State Department in a long time. Many years. We can say many years, maybe many decades,” said Trump at the ceremony, responding to the applause of those present.
Trump did not refer to North Korea or to the Iran nuclear agreement, a pact that Pompeo also did not mention despite expectations about the possibility that the US will withdraw from the accord before May 12.