CIA Opens New North Korean Mission Center in Secret Location
CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the U.S. intelligence agency had opened a new mission center whose sole purpose would be to keep constant tabs on North Korea.
“Creating the Korea Mission Center allows us to more purposefully integrate and direct CIA efforts against the serious threats to the United States and its allies emanating from North Korea,” said Pompeo in a statement. “It also reflects the dynamism and agility that CIA brings to evolving national security challenges.”
The statement went on to say that the new mission center – the 11th such outpost the CIA has constructed around the world – was developed to meet the “nuclear and ballistic threat posed by” the Kim Jong Un regime, allowing the U.S. to “harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency.”
“The new Mission Center draws on experienced officers from across the Agency and integrates them in one entity to bring their expertise and creativity to bear against the North Korea target,” Pompeo said.
The announcement comes as several new developments have experts concerned about the potential for military conflict in the region. In one case, a North Korean state news outlet warned that the regime took a recent South Korean evacuation drill as a direct threat against them.
“This is nothing but a prelude to war for invading the DPRK and on open declaration of the U.S. to ignite a war at any moment,” said the country’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper. “If a war breaks out, even survivors cannot seek a shelter anywhere. The U.S. would be well advised to urgently take measures to save the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans in the mainland rather than being concerned about the security of those in South Korea.”
Additionally, the U.S. is watching warily as a new, more liberal South Korean president takes power. Moon Jae-in has been critical of his predecessor’s subservience to the United States, and he’s a proponent of opening talks with Pyongyang at a time when the Trump administration is trying to dial up the pressure on the rogue regime.
“For peace of the Korean Peninsula, I will constantly be working,” said Moon after being inaugurated last week. “If it is necessary, I will fly immediately to Washington and also visit Beijing and Tokyo. If the condition is created, I will also go to Pyongyang.”
President Trump has not ruled out taking a meeting with the North Korean dictator and has said he prefers to find a diplomatic solution to the growing crisis. But, as relayed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently, the U.S. does not intend to bring Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table by demonstrating weakness.
“It’s a pressure campaign that has a knob on it,” Tillerson said on May 3. “I’d say we’re at about dial setting five or six right now, with a strong call of countries all over the world to fully implement the UN Security Council resolutions regarding sanctions.”
The U.S. may be ready to turn the knob, but the new South Korean leader could have different plans.
In the meantime, Kim Jong Un (and Chinese President Xi) are watching, waiting, and looking for signs of weakness.