CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip.
The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emissaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the highly classified nature of the talks, The Washington Post reports.
The clandestine mission, which has not previously been reported, came soon after Pompeo was nominated to be secretary of state.
“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,” Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week during his confirmation hearing.
Read alsoChina says North Korea pledges denuclearization during friendly visit – mediaSpeaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday, Trump appeared to allude to the extraordinary face-to-face meeting between Kim and Pompeo when he said the United States has had direct talks with North Korea “at very high levels.” The president didn’t elaborate.
Trump said that he would sit down with Kim probably in early June, if not sooner.