Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell spoke to Circa about the effects of Rex Tillerson’s firing on the potential summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.
“There are some rumors that perhaps what was conveyed by the South Koreans was not exactly what the North Koreans had envisioned and they are now assessing the possibilities before them,” said Alexandra Bell, a former State Department official and senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
The silence from Pyongyang, she added, could also be because they were unprepared for Trump to accept the offer or are waiting to see how world reaction plays out before commenting. There may also be discussions underway privately that have not leaked to the press.
If confirmed as secretary of state, Pompeo, a West Point graduate and former Army officer who worked in the business world before running for the House in 2010, would bring minimal diplomatic experience to the job. According to Bell, Tillerson struggled in part due to similar inexperience.
“Given the stakes, the dismissal of Secretary Tillerson comes at as most inopportune time,” Bell said. “Some of the time and effort of State Department officials would be spending on preparations for a Trump-Kim summit will now be diverted towards the confirmation of CIA Director Mike Pompeo.”
If Trump and Kim do meet, experts are unsure what outcome to expect. At best, it might do little more than establish a framework for future conversations and solidify North Korea’s compliance with calls to halt its nuclear program while negotiations proceed.
“No single meeting – no matter who the players are – will solve this crisis,” Bell said. “If a meeting occurs, it should be seen as the beginning of lengthy and complicated process.” Read more