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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 468498

Reported Deaths: 9100
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison31907468
Hinds30552569
DeSoto29532342
Jackson22868335
Rankin21016355
Lee14393214
Madison13961263
Jones13053215
Forrest12879231
Lauderdale11244292
Lowndes10148171
Lamar9972122
Pearl River8569208
Lafayette8008136
Hancock7110107
Oktibbeha6764117
Washington6756146
Neshoba6350200
Monroe6304156
Warren6267159
Panola6036122
Pontotoc599292
Bolivar5960143
Marshall5917115
Union558885
Pike5424133
Lincoln5192127
Alcorn509388
George454766
Scott447392
Leflore4377138
Tippah431780
Itawamba429192
Prentiss429074
Copiah423883
Simpson4238108
Wayne419663
Tate418999
Adams4174109
Yazoo411486
Sunflower4057104
Covington404891
Marion399699
Leake389784
Coahoma385996
Newton360273
Grenada3489100
Stone342657
Tishomingo320987
Attala318285
Jasper308261
Winston298191
Clay282672
Chickasaw277464
Clarke271784
Holmes257685
Calhoun256939
Smith241546
Yalobusha215447
Tallahatchie213849
Walthall203457
Lawrence202431
Greene202045
Perry195053
Amite191251
Webster191141
Noxubee173437
Montgomery168652
Jefferson Davis164041
Carroll158936
Tunica146533
Benton137531
Kemper136538
Claiborne124134
Choctaw123824
Humphreys122036
Franklin114127
Quitman100925
Wilkinson98335
Jefferson85832
Sharkey61620
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 757893

Reported Deaths: 12784
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1082301712
Mobile694251158
Madison47738562
Baldwin35347420
Shelby34758281
Tuscaloosa32576495
Montgomery32249645
Lee21576200
Calhoun19621363
Morgan19061307
Etowah18363413
Marshall17028252
Houston15881337
St. Clair14724270
Limestone13908178
Elmore13812239
Cullman13756228
Lauderdale12909263
Talladega12124200
DeKalb11705220
Walker10047303
Autauga9371119
Blount9272146
Jackson8970132
Coffee8550150
Colbert8229160
Dale8162142
Escambia632298
Tallapoosa6255165
Covington6214153
Chilton6152128
Russell586753
Franklin558292
Chambers5155127
Dallas4569173
Marion4490114
Clarke447070
Pike439188
Geneva415999
Lawrence4002101
Winston399982
Bibb388975
Barbour334667
Marengo317778
Monroe306844
Butler305878
Pickens296166
Henry288550
Randolph288255
Hale282981
Cherokee275649
Fayette268569
Washington241844
Crenshaw226962
Clay219260
Macon211154
Cleburne205746
Lamar184638
Conecuh173337
Lowndes167856
Coosa160031
Wilcox153033
Bullock145642
Perry132430
Sumter122635
Greene117941
Choctaw71925
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