President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday morning that CIA Director and Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo met secretly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week, forming “a good relationship” ahead of planned talks between Kim and Trump later this spring.
Pompeo’s meeting with Kim was first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post.
“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” the president wrote online. “Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”
The meeting between Pompeo and Kim marks the highest-level known talks between the U.S. and North Korean governments since 2000, when then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Kim Jong Il, the now-deceased father of the current North Korean leader.
Trump sent shockwaves through the international community last month when he announced he had accepted an invitation to meet with Kim, breaking with the precedent set by his predecessors from both parties, who largely worked to isolate North Korea as punishment for its nuclear program and alleged human rights abuses.
The meeting had originally been scheduled to occur by May, but Trump said Tuesday that early June is now the likely timing. He added a warning though, that “it’s possible things won’t go well and we won’t have the meetings, and we’ll just continue to go on this very strong path we have taken.”
The announced plans for a meeting between the two leaders represented a dramatic shift in their relationship, which had been marked through Trump’s first year in office by exchanges of insults and threats of violence. Trump has vowed never to allow North Korea to obtain a nuclear weapon capable of striking the U.S. and has pointedly refused to take military action off the table.
North Korea, for its part, ramped up its nuclear program last year with a wave of missile tests as well as its largest nuclear test to date. Trump, in response to the Kim regime’s saber-rattling, threatened to attack North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”