Trump 'On the Same Wavelength' as Mike Pompeo on North Korea

Trump 'On the Same Wavelength' as Mike Pompeo on North Korea

Hours after it was announced that President Donald Trump had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Tillerson delivered an emotional statement in which he thanked those he worked with and expressed how proud he was to serve in the position.

Nearly from the get-go, Tillerson, the former CEO of Irving-based Exxon Mobil, seemed out of sorts and out of step with his mercurial boss.

Tilllerson and Trump had been at odds over their opinions on the Iran nuclear deal and the handling of diplomatic relations with North Korea, with Trump saying the two "felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same".

A senior White House official said the president wanted to reshuffle his team with a view to launching talks with North Korea, following last week's spectacular announcement of a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un. Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia to ease off Qatar, but Trump took the Saudis' side and labeled Qatar a "funder of terrorism".

He states, "Mike Pompeo, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will become our new Secretary of State". To ease the way for such talks, Tillerson and Mattis wrote an op-ed past year that said the USA had no interest in regime change for North Korea. "We're going to work with our European partners and allies to see if we can't address these concerns", Tillerson said at the time.

Trump specifically cited the Iran nuclear deal, which he wanted to pull the USA out of against Tillerson's recommendations. However, Goldstein's statement refuted that claim, stating that "the Secretary had every intention of staying, because of critical progress made in national security".

Foreign Minister Taro Kono had been planning a trip to the United States later this week to hold talks with Tillerson about the latest developments in North Korea. Hours later, he was sacked, too.

"Expect Pompeo to play a protagonist's role in avoiding the entrapment of previous USA administration engagements with North Korea by holding absolutely firm on the United States' desired end state -denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an end to the North Korea ballistic missile program". Meanwhile, Tillerson's aggressive budget cuts and an ill-conceived reorganization plan alienated potential allies in both the State Department and Congress. After hours of bureaucratic tug-of-war, Tillerson, in his final somber turn before the cameras, said he would be delegating his responsibilities to deputy secretary John Sullivan at the end of the workday and would resign effective at the end of the month.

From the start, the former Exxon chief had been an unlikely pick for top diplomat, with no formal experience but a lifetime's worth of personal relationships with heads of state and powerful global figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While the message was aimed at Pyongyang, it also helped Tillerson make the case for peace at the White House.

Blessing said he believes the move also adds ammunition for the president's critics.

Current and former officials said Pompeo, 54, was likely to get along better with Congress and with the White House, not least because of his conservative bent.

Ms Bishop repeatedly said she was confident Australia would have a good working relationship with Mr Pompeo.

Pompeo too has taken a harder line than Trump himself on Russian Federation.

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