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. The Washington 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.
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, which took place but added there was a sticking point over the location of his meeting with Trump.
President Trump told reporters on Tuesday that five locations are being considered. Previously, US officials have floated 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, a seemingly unlikely choice that no US official has yet ruled out.