Friday, May 11, 2018

Nauert: US Entering NKorea Negotiations 'Clear-Eyed, Realistic'

Sandy Fitzgerald,; original article contains a video

Image (not from article) with caption: Clear eyed raptor Leopard Gecko female December 2015

The United States is going into negotiations with North Korea "clear-eyed and realistic," and the Trump administration believe it's on the right track, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Friday.

"I think it's a positive step in the right direction that the three American prisoners were released," Nauert, also the acting Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis], told CNN "New Day" co-host Chris Cuomo. "We had said to them all along that is something we would want."

The administration has also talked "very clearly" to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's regime, said Nauert, noting that the country's nuclear program remains a "tremendous concern" worldwide.

"As we have achieved in our maximum pressure campaign of getting people to kick out North Korean diplomats, North Koreans all around the world, that has put pressure on North Korea," she said. "This administration has made more progress in the past eight weeks on North Korea than other administrations have in the past eight years. We think we are on the other right footing, we are on the right track, but still we go into this clear-eyed and realistic."

She also denied that the administration is "forgiving," after Cuomo asked about the president's words thanking Kim or the prisoner release.

"This administration is hardly forgiving," she said. "We've been tough on North Korea. No one takes issue with that whatsoever.

"The State Department recently put out its human rights report where we took North Korea to account for its human rights abuses which are well documented. So I think this administration has been significantly and sufficiently tough on North Korea. I'm proud to stand behind that," Nauert said.

She also noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been tough on North Korea, and said he administration is committed to the complete verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

The administration has also been able to point out to North Korea that it can open up its country to capital markets and to the world.

"Envision a country, which by the way, is a beautiful country, envision a country some day where people are able to visit, where you have hotels around the world, where you have visitors coming from around the world," said Nauert. "That's part of what Secretary Pompeo has painted for Kim Jong Un, that they have a brighter future ahead of them if they follow through on their commitments."

Nauert, also appearing on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," traveled to North Korea with Pompeo for the prisoner release and recalled when they boarded the plane to return home.

"Even though we were still on North Korea soil, they were under the protection of the United States of America," she said. "They looked at us and said, 'God bless America. We're so proud to be Americans.' We all teared up. We all choked up. It was an incredible moment."

Nauert also discussed the recent actions between Iran and Israel, with Cuomo, and said it's "unbelievable" that there are some who would blame Iran's bombstrikes on Trump's decision to end the United States' part in the Iran nuclear deal.

"We've seen that as Iran has provided weapons, money and all of that to Hezbollah operating in Syria, we've seen as Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps operate outside of Syria," said Nauert.

"They continue to back the regime of Bashar Al Assad. Let me just remind you it wasn't that long ago that that regime gassed and killed many innocent civilians, not just once but many, many times," she added. "So let's take a look at where these bad actions are coming from. They're from Iran and not other countries."

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