The Korea Herald


Kim Jong-un said he needed USFK to protect him from China: Pompeo

By Kim So-hyun

Published : Jan. 25, 2023 - 22:01

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Mike Pompeo's book Mike Pompeo's book "Never Give an Inch," released on Tuesday.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in his new memoir that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told him in 2018 that he needed US forces in South Korea to protect himself from China.

Kim "said that he needed the Americans in South Korea to protect him from the CCP, and that the CCP needs the Americans out so they can treat the peninsula like Tibet and Xinjiang," Pompeo wrote, referring to the Chinese Communist Party, in his book "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I love."

When he told the North Korean ruler that China believes North Korea wants US forces out of South Korea, "Kim laughed and pounded on the table in sheer joy, exclaiming that the Chinese were liars."

Based on the conversation, Pompeo came to believe that Kim would not care if the US strengthened its missile and ground troops’ capacity on the peninsula, the book revealed.

The possible future US presidential contender is known for his hawkish stance on China, controversially accusing Beijing of spreading the "Wuhan virus," in a derogatory reference to COVID-19.

In the book about his time as former President Donald Trump's top diplomat and earlier CIA chief, Pompeo wrote in detail about his diplomacy with Kim, which included preparing for three meetings between Kim and Trump.

About his first conversation with Kim when he flew into Pyongyang in March 2018 on a clandestine trip as CIA director, Pompeo described Kim as a “small, sweating, evil man” trying to “break the ice with all the charm you would expect from a mass murderer.”

"'I didn't think you'd show up. I know you've been trying to kill me,'" Pompeo quoted Kim as telling him.

"I decided to lean in with a little humor of my own: 'Mr. Chairman, I'm still trying (to) kill you.'"

Noting that Kim is still smiling in the picture taken seconds after the exchange, Pompeo wrote “he seemed confident that I was kidding.”

Referring to Kim's smoking habit, Pompeo wrote that he told Kim he would take him to "the nicest beach in Miami and smoke the best Cubanos in the world” to which Kim was quoted as replying, “I already have a great relationship with the Castros.”

Describing his journey to Pyongyang in detail from how the North Korean fighter jets shadowed his aircraft the moment it entered the North Korean airspace as “typical North Korean bluster,” Pompeo recalled meeting at the airport with Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the North’s Workers’ Party of Korea, whom he called “one of the nastiest men” he has ever encountered. The retired general who has headed Pyongyang’s external propaganda unit and its primary intelligence service is known to have played a key role in sinking the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan in 2010 and the killing of 46 South Korean sailors onboard.

The book revealed the first interaction between Kim Yong-chol and Pompeo, in which the North Korean said via a translator and with shaking hands, “We have eaten grass for the last 50 years. We can eat grass for the next 50 years.”

Pompeo wrote that he replied, “Nice to see you too. I can’t wait for lunch. And I prefer my grass steamed.”

About Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the former US top official wrote that the “dour” president of China is “not so much serious as dead-eyed … Of the dozens of world leaders I met, he was among the most unpleasant.”

In March 2020, when Pompeo publicly blamed the CCP for the pandemic, Xi called Trump to get Pompeo fired.

Trump told Pompeo that Xi "hates you" and asked him to "shut the hell up for a while" as the US needed health supplies from China.

“My Mike, that f–king guy hates you!” Trump exclaimed, according to the book.