Excerpts from Secretary’s Remarks: Interview With Pete Mundo of the Pete Mundo Morning Show

Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Via Teleconference

November 21, 2018

QUESTION: Good to have you on. We appreciate it. Well, let’s start off with what’s going on here with the Khashoggi murder. President comes out; he’s received some criticism for his handling of this. He said it’s all about an “America first” policy. There appears to be some pushback in the Republican Party, Lindsey Graham and some others saying at the very least we have to look into sanctions. What do you think the best way to handle the Saudis in the wake of this CIA report as well?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we’ve been very clear. We’re going to hold those who conducted this murder accountable. We’ve already done so. We’ve sanctioned 17 people, some of them very senior in the Saudi government. We are going to make sure that America always stands for human rights. We’ve watched the Saudis actually move in that direction during our time in office as well. It’s not an unblemished record, but there certainly have been steps forward.

And President Trump has made clear since he began to run for office that the most important thing for him was to ensure that America was successful and that we protected the American people. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been an important national security partner to the United States, pushing back against the murderous regime in Iran that actually presents real risk to the American people, and we are determined to make sure that the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia stays strong so that we can protect America.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joining us here on 710 KCMO. Pete Mundo with you. Mr. Secretary, let’s dive into North Korea. Obviously, some rumblings about maybe an early-2019 meeting, another summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. Where do we stand on that relationship and what might be next between these two countries?

SECRETARY POMPEO: This has been an incredibly important part of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda. Among the greatest risks to the American people when we took office was the capacity of North Korea to fire missiles that would be incredibly destructive to the United States. We now have got the North Koreans not conducting missile tests. They’ve not conducted a nuclear test in a long time. We continue to negotiate with them to get them to implement what Chairman Kim, who I’ve had the chance to meet with on a number of occasions, to get Chairman Kim to complete the commitment that he made to fully and verifiably denuclearize North Korea. This would be great for America, great for the region, and wonderful for the North Korean people as well, and I do hope that there’ll be a summit between the two leaders early in 2019.