“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” the President tweeted. “Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”
Sources confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that Pompeo, who is Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, visited North Korea more than two weeks ago for a secret meeting with Kim in Pyongyang.
It’s likely that Trump on Wednesday was referring to that meeting. CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
Trump and Kim 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.
During a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, Trump said “very high levels” of discussion between Washington and Pyongyang are already underway, adding that they “have had direct talks.” 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 was “personable and well prepared” for the meeting, 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.
Pompeo was nominated for secretary of state after Trump fired Rex Tillerson from the post in mid-March. The CIA director will need approval from the US Senate before he takes the role, but opposition has been growing on the committee voting to confirm him.