United States Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week, U.S President Donald Trump said on Wednesday after media reported on Pompeo's recent secret mission to the North to prepare for the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit.
Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed, Trump tweeted, adding that details of a summit are being worked out now, apparently referring to direct talks between him and Kim expected by early June.
Trump said the meeting between Pompeo, currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Kim took place last week. The Washington Post reported that the top-secret visit to North Korea took place around April 1 to lay the groundwork for the summit over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, citing two unnamed people with direct knowledge of the trip.
Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea! Trump also said in his Twitter post.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday neither confirmed nor denied the report, only saying, The administration does not comment on the CIA director's travel.
The mission came soon after Trump nominated Pompeo to be his new secretary of state in place of Rex Tillerson, according to the Washington Post. The report was published as Trump said during the first day of a two-day meeting from Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Palm Beach, Florida, that Washington has had direct talks with Pyongyang at extremely high levels to arrange the U.S.-North Korea summit.
Trump said a meeting with Kim will take place probably in early June or before that assuming things go well. At the same time, Trump also said he may decide not to go ahead with the meeting, a comment considered an effort to push Kim to take concrete action to achieve the permanent denuclearization of North Korea.
We'll either have a very good meeting or we won't have a good meeting. And maybe we won't even have a meeting at all depending on what's going in, he said.
Trump said he is looking at five potential sites for the unprecedented meeting, held despite no diplomatic relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
None of the five places under consideration is in the United States, he said.
Trump did not elaborate further on the five locations, but countries such as Mongolia and Sweden, and the truce village of Panmunjeom on the border between the Koreas, have been floated as possible sites for a Trump-Kim meeting.
Speaking to reporters earlier on Tuesday, Matt Pottinger, senior director for Asia at the U.S. National Security Council, warned that if Pyongyang intends to buy time by conducting direct talks with Washington, there will be an unhappy result.
Pottinger said Abe and Trump will coordinate policy in advance of a Trump-Kim summit so that we make sure that Japanese interests and American interests are both fully accounted for.
Japanese security interests are American security interests, he said. That's why we are allies. That's what it means to have an alliance.
Trump said Washington and Tokyo are locked and very unified on matters related to North Korea. Preparations for a Trump-Kim meeting and trade issues have been dominating the Abe-Trump talks at the U.S. leader's Mar-a-Lago estate.