Secretary’s Remarks: Remarks to the Press


Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
New Delhi, India
September 6, 2018

SECRETARY POMPEO: (In progress) just a few moments to wrap up this trip to India and Pakistan, my first visit to both countries as Secretary of State, and we’ll be meeting with Prime Minister Modi here in just a little bit and are very much looking forward to that. His leadership along with that of President Trump have truly put the relationship between India and the United States on a good plane with an upward trajectory.

My meetings were all productive with each of the counterparts, and here in India I must say the kickoff of the 2+2 was pretty special, a historic level of relationship that the two countries have not previously had. And I think each of us valued the opportunity to have good, strong, candid discussions. We’ve had 70 years of diplomatic relationships with India, and it was important for the four of us to work together through this dialogue so that we can continue to keep these two relationships both intertwined and moving towards our set of shared objectives of the world’s two largest democracies.

We’re happy that we were able to announce two agreement with India, the COMCASA agreement, and we also agreed to enhance our military cooperation with India as our major defense partner.

In Pakistan yesterday, we agreed that it’s time to start delivering on our joint commitments. There was broad agreement between myself, Foreign Minister Qureshi, and Prime Minister Khan that we need to take steps that will deliver outcomes on the ground, allowing us to begin to build confidence and trust between our two countries.

I’ve also had fun. On both stops I’ve had the chance to meet with teams from our embassy – always the highlight of my trip to meet with our diplomats and our locally employed staff to deliver President Trump’s foreign policy priorities.

And with that, I’m happy to take a couple questions.

MS NAUERT: (Inaudible), go ahead.

QUESTION: If I could start with North Korea, sir, there are new reports today that Kim Jong-un is saying a declaration ending the Korean War would not lead to withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea. Do you see this as a concession, and does denuclearization need to come before an end-of-war declaration? And finally, are there any plans to meet with the North Koreans at the UNGA?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So as I’ve said consistently as we’ve been continuing to work with the North Koreans to deliver on the world’s demands, the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand a number of things from North Korea and from no one else. There’s only country that has a commitment under those Security Council resolutions.

As I’ve said before, I’m not going to talk about ongoing negotiations, discussions that we’re having, with the North Koreans. We will work – we will continue to work with them to deliver for the world, as against the UN Security Council resolutions, and for Chairman Kim to deliver on the commitment that he made to President Trump in Singapore now back on June 12th.

MS NAUERT: The next question, Nick Wadhams from Bloomberg.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I’m sure you’ve heard the story that’s gripping Washington right now is this anonymous op-ed in The New York Times. Were you the author of that op-ed? Could you comment on it? Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that The New York Times, a liberal newspaper that has attacked this administration relentlessly, chose to print such a piece. And if that piece is true, if it’s accurate, if it’s actually – I think they described it as a senior administration official – they should not well have chosen to take a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor’s word for anything and put it in their newspaper.

It’s sad more than anything else that our nation has come to where you have – again, if it is what it’s purported to be, it is sad that you have someone who would make that choice. I come from a place where, if you’re not in a position to execute the commander’s intent, you have a singular option: It is to leave. And this person – and said, according to The New York Times – chose not only to stay but to undermine what President Trump and this administration are trying to do. And I ought to tell you, just I find – I find the media’s efforts in this regard to undermine this administration incredibly disturbing.

MS NAUERT: The next question —

SECRETARY POMPEO: And I’ll answer your other question directly, because I know someone will say, gosh, he didn’t answer the question. It’s not mine.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I have a question about India and also about North Korea.

On North Korea, (inaudible) that Chairman Kim (inaudible) timeline for the first time in terms of when he would denuclearize. But at the same time, the U.S. intelligence assessment (inaudible) concluded that, actually, they were still working on a program (inaudible). And could you help us understand (inaudible) what next steps in light of the developments (inaudible)?

On India, was there a request to the Indians that they buy more U.S. oil and less Iranian oil?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Let me take the second one first. We have told the Indians consistently, as we have told every nation, that on November 4th the sanctions with respect to Iranian crude oil will be enforced, and that we will consider waivers where appropriate, but that it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country, or sanctions will be imposed. So we’ll work with the Indians. We committed that we would do that. Many countries are in a place where they – it takes a little bit of time to unwind, and we’ll work with them, I am sure, to find an outcome that makes sense.

And from whence they purchase the other crude oil, we’re happy to see if it’s American products that are able to deliver for them. I think that’d be a great outcome. But our mission set is to make sure that Iran doesn’t engage in malign behavior with wealth that comes from countries around the world, thus the purpose of the sanctions.

On North Korea, no, I’m not going to talk about the negotiations and what the next steps might be. It is the case that there is still an enormous amount of work to do. We haven’t had any nuclear tests, we haven’t had any missile tests, which we consider a good thing. But the work of convincing Chairman Kim to make the strategic shift that we’ve talked about for a brighter future for the people of North Korea continues.

MS NAUERT: Last question, and it’s from Joanna Slater from Washington Post.

QUESTION: Hi, Secretary Pompeo.


QUESTION: Can I ask you about two other areas of friction with India? Sorry, it’s one question but –.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Be clever. Make it (a) and (b) and we’ll – it’ll all work.

QUESTION: The first – the first is the S-400. Is the President inclined to grant a waiver for that purchase? And the second is on trade. Has the U.S., in fact, made demands of India for certain purchase – purchases of – (inaudible) its purchases of U.S. goods over three years? And your personal relationship with Foreign Minster Swaraj – I’d like (inaudible).

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I haven’t known her for a long time. I met her in person for the first time today, but we’ve spoken by phone previously. We have a good discussion, one that is marked by true candor. I think we both share our concerns in places where we think our two countries can work together to do better and create opportunity as well.

With respect to the S-400, no decision has been made. We are working to impose CAATSA Section 231 in a way that is appropriate and lawful and to exercise that waiver authority only where it makes sense. And we as a team, the national security team, will work on that, and as we continue to have these conversations with India about that, I think come to an outcome that makes sense for each of our two countries.

You had a third one.


SECRETARY POMPEO: Trade, yeah. Trade, very straightforward: free, fair, and reciprocal. We want the trade balance, the trade deficit that the United States has in its trade with India, to be rectified. They have made some progress on that, and we thank them for that. They’re going to buy more energy products from the United States. They’re going to purchase more aircraft from the United States. We truly do appreciate that. But the gap will remain, and so we are urging them to do all that they can to narrow that gap.

At the same time, it’s important that the trade barriers that are there, places that American companies’ and American workers’ products can’t be sold here, be reduced. And so very consistent what President Trump is seeking all around the world are the things we talked about with our Indian counterparts here today.

MS NAUERT: Thank you, everybody.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Great. Thanks, everybody. Go ahead, I’ll take one more. You look very forlorn. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I just want to clarify on the S-400, is the idea that you’re – the Indians are so far down in the (inaudible) S-400 that it’s not reasonable really to sanction them (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t. There’s been no decision made. But I will share that we do understand the history, right, of India’s relationship with Russia and legacy systems. Our effort here, too, is not to penalize great strategic partners like India, a major defense partner. The sanctions aren’t intended to adversely impact countries like India. They are intended to be a – have an impact on the sanctioned country, which is Russia.

And so we’ll work our way through the waiver decision as the days and weeks proceed, and we’ll do that alongside our partner, India, as well.

MS NAUERT: Thank you, everybody.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Great. Thanks, everybody.


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