It's important to 'play out every diplomatic opportunity' on North Korea: Mike Pompeo

On "This Week," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discusses the latest activity out of North Korea and the political unrest in Venezuela.
16:25 | 05/05/19

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Transcript for It's important to 'play out every diplomatic opportunity' on North Korea: Mike Pompeo
But, we begin with what's been a challenging week in American foreign policy. Over the weekend, new provocations from North Korea as Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the country's most significant military test in over a year. Launching a barrage of projectiles into the sea of Japan. And while the U.S. Has yet to confirm the type of projectile tested, the move raises questions about Kim Jong-un's willingness to negotiate a nuclear deal with president trump. And here in this hemisphere, a failed uprising in Venezuela. The trump administration recognized Venezuela's interim president, opposition leader Juan guaido over three months ago and encouraged his challenge to president Nicolas maduro. This week, urging members of maduro's inner circle to defect. But after guaido's call for a military uprising, maduro is still in power. Let's get right to it all with secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Let's start with North Korea, what have we learned about what exactly, the kind of projectiles north Koreans were testing? So, we know a couple of things. One, at no point, was there was no international border crossed. Didn't pose a threat to south Korea, Japan or the U.S. Theyere relatively short-range. Beyond that, they weren't intercontinental ballistic missiles. So, you're one of the precious few Americans who has actually spent time with Kim Jong-un, what's your read on this? What kind of message was he sending with these tests? Well, Jonathan, we still believe that there's an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that. He has repeatd that quite recently, in fact. So, we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won't get in the way. We want to get back to the table and we want to continue to have these conversations. The global sanctions put in place by the U.N. Security council they're still in place, so the pressure on chairman Kim to continue down this path, to achieve the outcome that -- you have to remember, this attack took -- excuse me, these launches took place just after he met with Vladimir Putin. Clearly, chairman Kim hasn't been able to get precisely what he wanted. We hope we can get back to the table. We're further along than we were a year ago and we hope we can continue to make progress. Kim's clearly frustrated by the fact that he's not gotten anything back yet from the U.S. Yet. The sanctions are still in place. He's now set this deadline of the end of the year basically for the U.S. To show flexibility. Do you take that deadline seriously? Look, this is a serious situation for sure. We know the path to fully verified nuclear denuclearization would be a long and bumpy one. As for the deadline, we want to get back and begin to have these negotiations. We're watching closely the north Korean behavior as is our allies, Japan, South Korea in the region. We still believe there's a path forward. It was reported after the Hanoi summit that the president had reached out to Kim, there had been communications to the north Koreans, have we heard anything back? Is the president -- has the president heard back anything from chairman Kim? I don't want to get into the exact nature of communications that took place. Yes, we have communicated with north Koreans post-hanoi. We can have conversations about the path moving forward. So you have heard back? , Yes. So the president had this response on Twitter to the tests, it was a little different in tone than in years. "I believe Kim Jong-un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea. He also knows that I'm with him and does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen." Why is the president so optimistic about getting a deal with Kim Jong-un? Jonathan, that doesn't sound any different from what I have said this morning. I too believe that there's a path forward that we can achieve this path forward. 50% of the north Korean population at risk of significant malnutrition, that's a very difficult set of conditions there. We want a brighter future. It's important. They need to understand that if these nuclear weapons go away it will be of an enormous benefit keeping them continues to pose risk. You mentioned the famine. Is the U.S. Considering any steps to maybe lift sanctions to get humanitarian support in, anything to deal with that famine, which is supposed to be the worst if a long, long time. It's permissible for humanitarian aid. What happened on Friday night, the money could have gone to taking care of his own people. It's so unfortunate. There are reports out of the region that after the Hanoi summit, several of the people that you were negotiating with, that were part of that negotiating team at Hanoi were executed, do we believe those reports are accurate? Jonathan, I don't have anything to add to that this morning. But some kind of shakeup of his team over there? It does appear that the next time we have negotiations, my counterpart will be someone else. Chairman Kim will get to make his own decisions who he asks to have these discussion. I want to show you something that Cindy Warmbier said, she made an emotional appeal to keep up the pressure. Take a listen. North Korea to me is a cancer on the Earth. There's a charade going on right now, it's diplomacy. How can you have diplomacy with someone who never tells the truth? From anything you have heard observed here, do you really think that Kim Jong-un is negotiating with good faith. First of all, I have come to known the Warmbier, Cindy is an American warrior. So the tone in her voice, the sound of her voice, I have enormous sympathy for. Make no mistake, the united States continues to apply pressure. The U.N. Sanctions continue to be enforced. We're expending a lot of energy to do that. It's important that we play out every diplomatic opportunity. Every opportunity we have to have these nuclear weapons depart and verify that without the use of force we think every effort ought to be made in that. But going back to president's tweet responding to these tests. The line that stuck out to me, he said, I'm with him. I'm with him. That's what she's saying about Kim Jong-un, you just heard what Cindy Warmbier had to say about Kim Jong-un, one of the brutal dictators. This is a president who put on the toughest sanctions in the history of the world on North Korea. The president understands the challenges. The president deeply understands this. We're working towards finding a path forward with chairman Kim. To denuclearize his country diplomatically. You recall at the beginning of the administration the president spoke about fire and fury, we understand all the challenges. We know who the north Koreans are. We're working to see if there's a possibility before we go another direction, want to see if there's any possibility we can achieve this outcome. Let's turn to Venezuela, national security adviser John Bolton suggested earlier this week, that maduro was about to fall. Openly called for maduro's inner circle to defect. But opposition leader guaido acknowledged yesterday that he miscalculated the level of support that he thought he had within the Venezuelan military. Was this an intelligence failure for the United States? No, not at all. Attempting to re-establish their democracy. As you know, these things have bumpy roads to be sure. But maduro can't feel good. He's ruling for the moment but he can't govern. There's enormous poverty, enormous starvation. There are sick children that can't get medicine, Jonathan. This is not someone who can be part of Venezuela's future. Our mission is to work with large coalition, now 50-countries plus working to restore democracy. Ultimately, a productive economy. You said today, tomorrow, a week from now, you're saying this is imminent? It could be two weeks, four weeks. Not two months, not a year? What we can do is provide support, the entire region, that understands that we're starting democracy for Venezuelan people is an imperative. Would maduro still be in power if he didn't have support from Cubans and the Russians? Cubans are at the center of this. Cubans are performing the security for maduro today. They're everywhere around him. He doesn't trust his military. You said the military -- the leader of their intelligence service left. So, there's a lot -- maduro can't feel good about the security of his position today. And he shouldn't, because the Venezuelan people will demand ultimately he leave. The Russians need to get out, too. The president tweeted, the Russians must go. We want every country. Iran is in there today, they need to leave as well. I want to play what the president said about Vladimir Putin and what Putin told him about Venezuela. He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he'd like to see something positive happen for Venezuela and I feel the same way. But, wait a minute, what does he mean the Russians -- that Putin does not want to get involved in Venezuela, aren't they already deeply involved in supporting maduro? Look, the president has said that the Russians must get out. I'm going to meet with foreign minister lavrov in recent days. We'll have more conversations about this. It's very clear, we want the Russians out, we want the Iranians out, we want the Cubans out. It's very clear. I don't think anything the president said is inconsistent with that. Wait a minute, you said that maduro was on the plane ready to leave and to flee for Cuba and it was the Russians that told him to stay, and the president is saying Putin told him that he's not looking to get involved in Venezuela, obvious that Putin is deeply involved in Venezuela? What does he mean he's not looking to get involved? I didn't see the full context of the quote that. I do know this, the president has made clear we want everyone out, and that includes the Russians. So you were at the Pentagon going over military options on Friday with the president's national security team. I know the line you said, the president said, all options are on the table. But is a U.S. Military invasion of Venezuela really an option? Oh, make no mistake. We have a full range of options that we're preparing for. That's part of what we were doing on Friday. We're making sure when this progresses, and different situations rises, the president has a full scale of options with our allies. And then ultimately a set of options that would involve the use of U.S. Military. When the situation arises we're not flat-footed. Does the president believe he can intervene militarily without getening congressional authorization? I don't want to speak to that. The president has a full range of article 2 authorities. I want to get to another thing that the president mentioned with his hour-long with Vladimir Putin. He said that he believes that Russia will not interfere in the 2020 elections. We heard, you know, a different message from bill Barr in his senate testimony. We've heard concerns from the intelligence community on this. Why does the president remain confident that Russia will not try to do it again? I've been part of this administration for two years now. We have worked diligently to protect America's election systems. Something I wish the previous administration had done more effectively. We had pretty good success in 2018 and we continue to be very focused on that. Not only Russia interference, we don't want the north Koreans interfering in our elections, we want to protect and preserve our we're determined -- the president has done more on election interference than any previous president. We're very proud of what we accomplished there. The president seems to be suggesting that he's ready for a new phase in his relationship with Vladimir Putin. Is there going to be a trump/putin summit on the horizon? Are we entering a new phase? I hope we are. I'm going to meet with the foreign minister lavrov, I'll be traveling the week after that, to continue the conversations. We truly we do hope. When I was the CIA director we were able to do that. We worked with Russians on counterterrorism. We were able to keep Americans traveling in the world a little bit safer and help Russian citizens who are traveling the world to be safer. Any place we can find overlapping interests we work along the Russians. Third summit? I don't know. We'll see. One more question before you go, I want to ask you about climate change, you said recently that climate change is not in the top five national security challenges facing the United States. We have heard the national -- director of national intelligence talk about climate change, fueling competition for resources, we heard the Pentagon warn about climate change, where do you put it? If it's not the top five, where do you put it? I can't rank it. I mean, I can't tell you exactly which number. We want to make sure that all the outcomes that are possible, and that includes climactic change, that our national security as secretary of state never wavers. That's what we'll do. The Washington post reported that the state department tried to strip any reference to climate change for the arctic policy ahead of the summit you're going be attending this week, what are you doing specifically to address this threat or do you not take it seriously? Jonathan, this administration takes keeping Americans safe, keeping our air clean, very, very seriously. The debate is about in this document you're referring to is about the Paris climate agreement. We don't think that has any hope of being successful. We've seen it. We have seen Americans reduce its carbon footprint. To sign a piece of paper is interesting and fun. You get to cut a piece of ribbon and have a big photo-op but at the end of the day the world is no safer. This administration is focused on doing the things that will allow our economy to grow. Health has improved for citizens around the world. As economies grow. We're determined to do that. We hope other countries will follow our lead. These are the things that will keep Americans safe. It's what president trump is focused on. Secretary Pompeo, thank you for joining us on "This week." Appreciate it. Up next, our exclusive

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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