CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

CIA Director Mike Pompeo visited North Korea more than two weeks ago for a secret meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in ...

Posted: Apr 18, 2018 12:05 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 12:05 PM

CIA Director Mike Pompeo visited North Korea more than two weeks ago for a secret meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, sources confirmed to CNN.

Pompeo, who is US President Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, didn't take any officials from the White House or State Department with him on the trip, only intelligence officials, one source said Tuesday.

The White House declined to comment on Pompeo's visit, which took place around April 1 and was first reported by The Washington Post. The Post reported that Pompeo went as Trump's envoy to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The two leaders 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.

After ordering a barrage of missile tests last year, which antagonized the international community, Kim has started engaging in diplomatic discussions over his nuclear program.

He's due to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-In next Friday at the demilitarized zone between the two countries. Of Pompeo's visit, a spokesman for the South Korean President's office said it was "inappropriate" for the government to comment.

'Very high level' discussions

Earlier Tuesday, Trump dropped hints about top level talks between the US and North Korea during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As both leaders faced the press at the President's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said "very high levels" of discussion between Washington and Pyongyang are already underway.

"We have had direct talks,"-the President said. 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 had been "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.

Moon's push for peace

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula soared in 2017 amid rapid progress in North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, culminating in an announcement by Pyongyang that it now has the ability to strike the United States mainland.

But relations have warmed in recent months, including a trip by North Korean athletes to the Winter Olympics, as part of a diplomatic push by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The same weekend Pompeo was in Pyongyang, Kim was pictured clapping and waving during a K-pop concert in the North Korean capital, held as a symbol of good will with South Korea.

Moon is due to meet with Kim in the demilitarized zone which divides Korea on April 27, the first meeting between the two countries' leaders in a decade.

It will also be the first time a North Korean leader has set foot in South Korea since the armistice between the two countries in 1953, Moon's Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok said Tuesady.

The South Korean leader has been a long-time proponent of peace on the Korean peninsula and is widely viewed as the main driver of diplomatic talks between North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

In March, South Korean diplomats traveled to Washington to bring a message from Kim to Trump, inviting the US President to talks with the North Korean leader, which he quickly accepted.

Pompeo's nomination in question

The CIA director's trip to North Korea came amid a major shakeup in the Trump administration.

The US President fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state in mid-March and nominated Pompeo to replace him as the US' top diplomat, shortly after the White House announced the President had agreed to meet with Kim.

Pompeo will need approval from the US Senate before he takes the role, but opposition has been growing on the committee voting to confirm him.

On Tuesday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she had she couldn't support Pompeo's nomination.

"I continue to have deep concerns regarding Mr. Pompeo's past statements and policy views, particularly in regards to the LGBTQ community, American Muslims and women's reproductive rights," she said in a statement.

US Republicans have made it clear they will bring Pompeo's nomination to a vote in the senate regardless of the committee's findings, which would be unprecedented in the body's history.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
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Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
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Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
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Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
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Houston17723425
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Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
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DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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