Official’s Brain Injury In China Matches Cuba Problem – Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee May 23, 2018 on

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee May 23, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the brain injury sustained by an American official in China was “very similar” to those that affected US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba.

The US embassy in China issued a health alert Wednesday after a US government employee who had experienced an “abnormal” sound was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

“The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba,” Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Pompeo said the US was moving medical teams to the area to work on the case.

“We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana and now in China as well,” Pompeo said.

He said the Chinese government has committed to helping in the case, under its responsibility to protect foreign diplomats.

In Cuba last year, 24 diplomats and their family members were left with mysterious injuries resembling brain trauma, which were suspected of being caused by a “sonic attack.”

Ten Canadian diplomats and their relatives also suffered a strange illness.

The US government has held Cuba responsible, arguing that Raul Castro’s authoritarian state must have either carried out the assaults or at least known who was behind them.

AFP

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US Ready To Offer North Korea Security Assurances – Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo                             

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo                                                                                    STRINGER / AFP

 

The United States is prepared to offer North Korea security assurances if it makes the strategic choice to give up its nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

Pompeo cast US President Donald Trump’s June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un as a test of the North Korean leader’s commitment to change his country’s direction.

The US price for normalization — complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization — is one Pyongyang has never before been willing to pay, regarding nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantee of the regime’s survival.

On Saturday, North Korea said it will destroy its nuclear test site later this month — a gesture Trump quickly hailed as “very smart and gracious.”

Pompeo, who has met twice with the North Korean leader to discuss the summit, said he was “convinced” Kim shared US goals.

“We will have to provide security assurances, to be sure,” Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday. “This has been the trade-off that has been pending for 25 years. No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible.”

“Our eyes are wide open with respect to the risks, but it is our fervent hope that Chairman Kim wants to make a strategic change,” he said.

If Kim makes such a change, he said, “President Trump is prepared to assure that there’s going to be a successful transition.”

But in a separate television interview, US National Security Advisor John Bolton cautioned that denuclearization has to be accomplished “before the benefits start to flow.”

“I think the implementation of the decision means getting rid of the nuclear weapons. Dismantling them. Taking them to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It means getting rid of the uranium facility,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“North Korea has a very extensive program. It won’t be easy to do,” he said. “They’ll have to reveal all locations. Open inspections. The deconstruction of the nuclear weapons, I think, will be by the United States with perhaps assistance from others.”

Bolton said the US side also will discuss not just North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs but its chemical and biological weapons arsenal as well.

“I don’t think the president has stars in his eyes,” Bolton said. “What we need to see from Kim Jong Un is that he and the entire North Korean regime have made a strategic decision that they’ll be better off without weapons of mass destruction.”

The summit will give Trump an early chance “to size Kim Jong Un up and see if the commitment is real,” he said.

AFP

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Senate Confirms Pompeo’s Appointment As Secretary Of States

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo speaks during his confirmation hearing before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill,

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo speaks during his confirmation hearing before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, on April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump nominated Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

 

United States’ President, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, narrowly won approval from a Senate panel Monday, paving the way for the CIA director to become America’s top diplomat.

A dramatic last-minute flip by Republican Senator Rand Paul, who for weeks had expressed opposition to Pompeo over his stance on the Iraq war and surveillance issues, gave the spy chief a narrow edge.

That allowed Trump to avoid an embarrassing setback as he sought to replace Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state he fired in March.

If Paul had not reversed his position, Pompeo would have become the first secretary of State-nominee on record to be rejected by the committee, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Paul said he changed his vote after speaking to Trump “several times,” and after meeting with Pompeo.

The maverick Republican said he was assured that Trump believes the Iraq war was a mistake and wants to end the US presence there and in Afghanistan.

“I haven’t been given anything, haven’t been promised anything,” Paul said.

“The president has assured me there is going to be a discussion” on those issues.

As for Pompeo, Paul said, “He’s assured me that he’s learned the lesson” of Iraq and “has incorporated the idea that the Iraq war was a mistake.”

Pompeo’s nomination will now proceed to a vote by the complete Senate, where the support of at least three Democrats guarantees its passage.

The leader of talks with North Korea 

A negative vote could have unsettled delicate negotiations with North Korea.

Pompeo has taken the lead in arranging a historic summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader.

The summit aims to reduce tensions brought about by Pyongyang’s development of a nuclear weapon and ballistic missiles powerful enough to deliver it to American soil.

Pompeo secretly traveled to Pyongyang in late March to meet with Kim to lay the groundwork for the meeting, which could take place in early June.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency since the beginning of the Trump administration, Pompeo has become one of the president’s closest advisors.

He would replace Tillerson, the former oil executive who was pushed out in March after a rocky relationship with the White House and a management approach that left the State Department understaffed and demoralized.

But Democrats have assailed Pompeo for a record of bellicose statements they say are at odds with his prospective job as the top US diplomat, and also have cited anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ statements he has made in the past.

Others, like Senator Maggie Hassan, said they worried Pompeo was too close politically to the president to stand up to him if need be.

Hassan said she was “concerned that Mr Pompeo would be unable to rise above a partisan perspective when making foreign policy decisions.”

AFP

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200 Russians Killed In Syria Clash, Says Pompeo

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo speaks during his confirmation hearing before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill,

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo speaks during his confirmation hearing before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, on April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump nominated Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

 

The outgoing head of the CIA appeared to confirm Thursday reports that around 200 Russian mercenaries were killed in February during a clash with US-led forces in Syria.

“In Syria, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match and a couple hundred Russians were killed,” Mike Pompeo said, during a Senate hearing on his nomination to become US secretary of state.

Pompeo did not go into more detail, but media reports have suggested that Russian mercenaries working for the so-called “Wagner Group” were involved in the February battle.

Russia acknowledged at the time that five of its citizens had died when US-led coalition forces working alongside Kurdish militia called in air support to repulse an attack by Syrian regime forces.

Washington said the coalition had killed at least 100 “pro-regime” forces and a group of Russian investigative bloggers established the identity of dozens of named Russian fatalities.

Multiple reports have suggested Wagner operates a shadowy private army in Syria with the tacit assent of the Kremlin, which has also deployed Russian regulars to back Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

President Donald Trump has nominated Pompeo to become Washington’s top diplomat and his confirmation hearing came just as the White House mulls a strike to punish Assad for an alleged chemical attack.

AFP

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