CIA Director Mike Pompeo Secretly Met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un
Albanian Daily News
Published April 18, 2018
CIA Director Mike Pompeo visited North Korea more than two weeks ago for a secret meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, sources confirmed to CNN.
Pompeo, who is US President Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, didn't take any officials from the White House or State Department with him on the trip, only intelligence officials, one source said Tuesday.
The White House declined to comment on Pompeo's visit, which took place around April 1 and was first reported by The Washington Post. The Post reported that Pompeo went as Trump's envoy to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
The two leaders are set to meet in late May or early June, in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.
After ordering a barrage of missile tests last year, which antagonized the international community, Kim has started engaging in diplomatic efforts over his nuclear program.
He's due to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-In next Friday at the demilitarized zone between the two countries. Of Pompeo's visit, a spokesman for the South Korean President's office said it was "inappropriate" for the government to comment.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump dropped hints about top level talks between the US and North Korea during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late Tuesday.
As both leaders faced the press at the President's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said "very high levels" of discussion between Washington and Pyongyang are already underway.
"We have had direct talks," the President said. The White House later clarified Trump's comments to make it clear he has not yet talked directly with Kim.
An administration official familiar with Pompeo's encounter with Kim told CNN the North Korean leader had been "personable and well prepared" for the meeting, which took place but added there was a sticking point over the location of his meeting with Trump.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump said five locations were being considered for the historic summit but didn't elaborate on what they might be.
In the past few weeks, US officials have floated several possible venues including: the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar; the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea; a neutral European capital like Stockholm or Geneva; a location at sea like Jeju island or a ship; Southeast Asia, including possibly Singapore or Malaysia; the South Korean capital Seoul; or the North Korean capital Pyongyang.