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I think Pompeo again is in a bit of pickle. North Korea has been clear about what they’re not willing to do. [North Korea’s offers so far have been minor compared to what it is asking of the United States in return.] Because the North Korea nuclear program is so advanced, this is like North Korea offering to sell us Windows 97 at a price higher than it warrants.
[Those not steeped in North Korea issues] have a fresh perspective. They might not be mired in revisiting history over and over again or being shackled to the history of bad North Korea negotiations. But the disadvantage is also those things. There’s something to be said about having that deep historical background. There are lots of mixed messages and garbled messages coming from the administration.
[On the possibility of ongoing secret negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea] I am always wondering if my chain is being yanked. It could also mean Kim is trying to undermine Moon, who positions himself as a broker between the U.S. and North Korea. These two potential explanations are not mutually exclusive.
[Regarding the Pyongyang declaration] We should recognize that 13 years ago [North Korea] agreed to far bigger concessions. Kim is trying to turn back the clock and set the terms of what he is willing to talk about. These are minuscule moves on Kim’s part and we should treat them accordingly.