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  • Secret N Korea trip sets up Trump-Kim summit
        Date:2018-04-19 

    CIA boss Mike Pompeo traveled in secret to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong Un to prepare for a meeting between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.

    The meeting was at Easter weekend just after the CIA chief was nominated to become secretary of state, The Washington Post reported in breaking in the news.

    Trump confirmed later yesterday that the talks had been held in Pyongyang to set up a summit between him and Kim slated to take place by early June.

    "A good relationship was formed" heading into the anticipated summit, he tweeted.

    Pompeo's highly unusual talks took place "last week" and "went smoothly," with details about the presidential meeting within the next few months "being worked out now," he said. "Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!"

    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing hopes the two sides will work on a political resolution of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and set up a peace mechanism.

    Kim's offer for a summit was conveyed initially to Trump by South Korea last month, and the president shocked many by accepting it.

    American officials indicated over the past two weeks that North Korea's government had communicated directly that it was ready to discuss its nuclear program. A Trump-Kim meeting will be the first summit between the United States and North Korea in more than 60 years since the Korean War.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons and its capability to deliver them by ballistic missile are now seen as a major threat to the US mainland.

    Washington and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations, but it is not unprecedented for a US intelligence official to be a conduit. In 2014, then-director of National Intelligence James Clapper secretly visited North Korea to take home two American detainees.

    At his confirmation hearing last week to become secretary of state, Pompeo played down expectations for a breakthrough deal soon to end North Korea's nuclear program but said it could lay the groundwork for an agreement.

    After a year of escalating tensions with nuclear and missile tests, Kim has pivoted to international outreach. He met President Xi Jinping in Beijing last month - Kim's first trip abroad since taking power six years ago - and will talk with South Korea's President Moon Jae In in the demilitarized zone between the Koreas on April 27.



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