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Why Kim Jong Un Hates Pompeo—But Loves Trump

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North Korea is making Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the bad guy in a sputtering diplomatic process that’s obviously not working.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at this stage seems to harbor more disdain and distrust for Pompeo, if that is possible, than he does for National Security Adviser John Bolton. Yes, Kim hosted Pompeo at a lavish luncheon in Pyongyang as recently as last October, but the seeming good will all went wrong when Pompeo sat beside President Donald Trump at the summit with Kim in February and Trump told Kim, in effect, much though I love you, this conversation is going nowhere.

Humiliated by Trump’s sudden walkout from the meeting in the historic Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Kim appears to be holding Pompeo, not Bolton, personally responsible for the debacle.

That’s why Kwon Jong Gun, director-general for American affairs at the North’s foreign ministry, made clear that Kim and Trump would damn well not meet again if Pompeo were anywhere in the vicinity. Considering that his words were carried in English by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, he clearly was speaking at Kim’s behest when he said he was “afraid, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled.”

Even if talks with the U.S. resume, said Kwon, “I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo but (an)other person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

The State Department very properly and primly did say the U.S. “remains ready to engage North Korea in a constructive manner.” It would seem, however, the U.S. and North Korea are inexorably returning to square one, the state of play before the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last June........

© The Daily Beast