Reuters: Tokyo farewells 'trustworthy' Tillerson, Seoul awaits seasoned Pompeo14 March 2018 | 08:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Trump fired Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea and other issues, replacing him with loyalist Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.
“He (Tillerson) was a frank, trustworthy counterpart and I thought we would deal with the North Korea issue together, but personally, I feel that this situation that has developed is unfortunate,” Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters in Tokyo.
“For sure, America holds the key, so I want to meet his successor as secretary of state soon and exchange views on North Korea and other matters,” Kono said.
Critics expressed dismay at the decision to swap out top diplomats so soon before the unprecedented potential meeting between Kim and Trump, and worried that Pompeo would encourage Trump to be hawkish on North Korea.
South Korean officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while Pompeo was known to have hardline views on North Korea, he was a seasoned politician and seemed to know how to compromise.
“We’re aware that Pompeo was one of the strongest voices in the talk of military action and fed Trump related assessments, but things have since changed a lot,” one senior official said, referring to upcoming inter-Korean talks and the prospect of a Kim-Trump summit. “So, we will see.”
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