All national dailies gave extensive coverage to President Trump’s decision to dismiss Secretary of State Tillerson due to differences of opinion on key diplomatic issues including North Korea, saying that CIA Director Pompeo has been named his successor. The President was reported as saying on Twitter: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!” All national dailies claimed that the U.S. leader and Secretary Tillerson have been at odds and the President was reportedly unhappy that the Secretary had advocated a conciliatory approach toward Tehran and Pyongyang. The President was quoted as telling the press on Tuesday: “We were not really thinking the same. Really, it was a different mindset, a different thinking.” According to the papers, Director Pompeo appears to be very close to the President who appreciates his highly conservative credentials.
Yomiuri claimed that the President tapped Pompeo, who is reportedly known as a “hardliner” on security issues in preparation for the proposed summit with Kim Jong Un, speculating that the U.S. leader chose to replace the “moderate” Tillerson ahead of the talks to remind Pyongyang that there will be no change in Washington’s resolve to seek denuclearization even if dialogue is resumed.
Contending that such so-called “globalists” as Tillerson, National Security Advisor McMaster, Defense Secretary Mattis, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have tried to moderate administration policy on major diplomatic and trade issues, Asahi speculated that Director Pompeo will play a major role following the departure of Tillerson and Cohn. The paper projected that diplomacy “hard-liners” in the administration will gain momentum, expressing concern that it may move to seek a military solution to the DPRK standoff, abrogate the Iran nuclear agreement, and take a tough stance in trade talks with foreign partners.
The national Mainichi expressed concern that, after Tillerson’s departure, more globalists may choose to leave the administration, while the Nikkei voiced qualms that the replacement of the top U.S. diplomat right before a U.S.-DPRK summit may further weaken U.S. leadership in the international community.
Sankei conjectured that the President chose to tap someone whose thinking is close to his own as the next secretary of state to make his diplomatic and security team “dissent-free” prior to his summit with the North Korean leader. However, the conservative daily speculated that Tillerson’s departure is unlikely to create a diplomatic vacuum since Pompeo is well versed in foreign and security policies.