CIA chief met in secret with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, discussed American prisoners

UPDATE — 4/20, 6:24 p.m. EDT: North Korea’s state news agency has announced Pyongyang is suspending nuclear weapons tests ahead of a historic diplomatic meeting with the U.S. in May. 

 

President Trump confirmed Wednesday he had dispatched CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un weeks ago ahead of an expected high-level summit to be held in the near future.

Acknowledging the meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., where he was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Trump said:

“We’ve also started talking to North Korea directly.  We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels, with North Korea. And I really believe this allows good will, that good things are happening. We’ll see what happens, as they always say, we’ll see what happens, because ultimately it’s the end result that counts, not the fact that we’re thinking about having a meeting or having a meeting.”

Although Trump exuded optimism over the meeting, he did say unproductive discussions would lead to a withdrawal from any summit.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump tweeted about the meeting:

First reported by The Washington Post, according to unnamed sources familiar with the trip, Mr. Pompeo was sent shortly after he was nominated to succeed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

Both the CIA and White House declined to comment over the Post‘s story.

Details surrounding the trip were not made public, to the exception the meeting was held to lay the groundwork for the summit between the two leaders tentatively scheduled for June.

Following Trump’s confirming Pompeo’s meeting with the North Korean dictator, reports surfaced among other matters to be discussed in the high-level talks is the fate of several Americans held in North Korean prisons.

Shortly after his return from the secret meeting, Pompeo discussed the prospect of a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Kim, but did not mention his meeting when testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

An unusual move for a CIA director, Mr. Pompeo is currently in the midst of hearings to confirm his nomination as the next secretary of state.  Pompeo’s meeting with Kim is the first high-level meeting with a North Korean leader since former Secretary of State Madeline Albright met with Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, in 2000.

 

[Wall Street Journal] [Reuters] [AP] [BBC] [Photo courtesy Reuters via RT]