President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday morning that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this month in an effort to lay the groundwork for a summit between the nation’s two leaders to discuss denuclearization.
“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
The Washington Post was the first to report Tuesday that Pompeo had secretly met with North Korea over Easter weekend, citing two people with direct knowledge of the trip.
Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort Tuesday that talks “at the highest levels” have occurred with North Korea in preparation for a meeting to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“We’ll either have a very good meeting or we won’t have a good meeting,” Trump said. “And maybe we won’t even have a meeting at all, depending on what’s going in. But I think that there’s a great chance to solve a world problem.”
“It’s possible things won’t go well and we won’t have the meetings, and we’ll just continue to go on this very strong path we have taken,” the president added.
Pompeo spoke about North Korea during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week.
“I’m optimistic that the United States government can set the conditions for that appropriately so that the president and the North Korean leader can have that conversation (that) will set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome that America so desperately — America and the world so desperately need,” he said.
Pompeo’s meeting with Kim marks the highest-level interaction between the two countries since 2000, when then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Kim Jong Il to discuss strategic issues, The Post reported.
During a meeting with Japanese President Shinzō Abe on Tuesday, Trump said that a location for a meeting with Kim had been narrowed down to five possible locations.
“I’d like to commend Donald’s courage in his decision to have the upcoming summit meeting with the North Korean leader,” Abe said.
Besides the upcoming summit between North Korea and the United States, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un are set to meet later this month.
South Korean presidential chief of staff Im Jon told reporters that lawmakers from the two Koreas are negotiating what will be said in a joint statement to be released at the summit’s end.
The statement would most likely focus on denuclarization and peace on the Korean peninsula, as well as an improvement in relations with other nations like the United States, Reuters reported.
Trump said Tuesday that the two Koreas “have my blessing to discuss the end of the war.”
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