President Donald Trump just confirmed CIA director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un to lay down the foundations of the historic summit meeting between the U.S president and the North Korean despot.
A report has been circulating Trump’s nominee for secretary of state travelled North Korea in an unexpected meeting with Kim. Trump tweeted the meeting indeed took place and went “very smoothly.”
Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
The meeting between Trump and Kim will hold talks of denuclearization. The U.S. president mentions in his Twitter announcement, “Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”
Trump’s selection for Pompeo to represent the United States at the meeting showed his exceeding reliance on the CIA director who awaits Senate’s vote to be named secretary of state.
CIA director and the president’s nominee for secretary of state Mike Pompeo made a secret trip to North Korea over the Easter weekend for a one-on-one meeting with Kim Jong Un, according to CNN sources.
The unexpected meeting between one of President Donald Trump’s most trusted envoys and the North Korean leader came on the heels of a historic summit meeting between the U.S. president and Kim. The meeting is to be scheduled somewhere between late May and early June.
Another CNN source said neither the White House nor State Department officials accompanied Pompeo on his trip. He only took along intelligence officers.
The covert visit was first reported by The Washington Post. The White House has declined to comment regarding the topic. South Korean officials have also followed suit, claiming it “inappropriate” for them to comment on the alleged Pompeo’s trip.
During a joint press conference with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump implicated high level talks between the U.S. and North Korea.
"We have had direct talks," the President said, talking about an established channel of communication between Washington and Pyongyang.
The White House later elaborated the president’s statement, clarifying Trump has not yet had direct talks with North Korea.
An administration official reportedly told CNN, Kim was “well-prepared” for his talks with Pompeo but the conundrum of deciding on a suitable location for the momentous meeting still loomed.
During the joint press conference, Trump mentioned five locations were under consideration for the meeting but did not provide their names.
However, a few possibilities for the summit might be the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar; the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea; a neutral European country like Switzerland, Southeast Asia, including possibly Singapore or Malaysia and the capitals of South and North Korea.
The meeting comes after efforts from South Korean officials who met with Kim and later briefed Trump, convincing him to meet with the North Korean despot.
Trump unexpectedly accepted the invitation of a known adversary, making it his biggest diplomatic gamble since taking office.
The relationship between the two Koreas has also neutralized recently with North Korean athletes travelling for the Winter Olympics and Kim attending a K-pop concert as part of a diplomatic push by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Moon is also set to meet with Kim in the demilitarized zone which separates the two states, marking it the first meeting between the two leaders in more than a decade.
Kim, who is notorious for threatening the use of nuclear power, has recently showed a rather diplomatic approach, with high-level meeting scheduled with Trump and Moon. He also made his first trip as head of state to China in March.
The news of the meeting came after Pompeo attended a Senate confirmation hearing for his approval as secretary of state, which depends upon the Senate’s vote but the CIA director’s history of riffs with the LGBTQ community and provision of basic women rights has put his nomination in jeopardy.
"I continue to have deep concerns regarding Mr. Pompeo's past statements and policy views, particularly in regards to the LGBTQ community, American Muslims and women's reproductive rights," said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Leah Millis, KCNA/via Reuters