CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip.
The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emissaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because of the highly classified nature of the talks.
Speaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday, Trump appeared to allude to the extraordinary face-to-face meeting between Kim and Pompeo when he said the U.S. has had direct talks with North Korea “at very high levels.” The president didn’t elaborate.
Trump said that he would sit down with Kim probably in early June, if not sooner.
Pompeo has taken the lead on the administration’s negotiations with Pyongyang. His meeting with Kim marks the highest-level meeting between the two countries since 2000, when then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Kim Jong Il, the current leader’s father to discuss strategic issues. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. visited the country in 2014 to secure the release of two American captives and met with a lower-level intelligence official.
Hostilities in the Korean War, which involved the United States, ended 65 years ago, but a peace treaty was never signed. A top South Korean official was quoted Tuesday as saying that a formal end to hostilities was on the agenda for the summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week in the demilitarized zone between the countries.
The United States does not need the TPP to confront Chinese bad behavior, Kudlow said. He touted a strong U.S. economy as leverage for American ideas on trade around the world and said Trump’s tougher stance on Chinese trade has won wide international backing.
The move discouraging imports of U.S. sorghum widens the brewing trade war between Beijing and Washington. On Monday, the United States banned U.S. firms from selling parts to Chinese phone maker ZTE for seven years, as the world’s two largest economies continue to exchange threats of tariffs worth billions of dollars.
But Trump sought to balance his aides’ criticism of Beijing with praise for Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom Trump has pressed to enact economic sanctions on North Korea.
“He’s been incredibly generous,” Trump said. “President Xi has been very strong on the border, much stronger than anyone thought they would be. I’d like them to be stronger on the border, but he’s been at a level nobody ever expected. The goods coming into North Korea have been cut down very substantially.”