KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/File / -, MARK WILSON
Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump's CIA chief and
nominee for secretary of state, met secretly
in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Un
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday
hailed a "great" clandestine meeting between
his CIA chief and North Korea's leader, as
he signaled that his improbable summit with
Kim Jong Un will go ahead.
News of the Easter weekend talks between
Mike Pompeo and the reclusive Kim was the
latest in a series of revelations from the
US leader that have fuelled hopes of a major
diplomatic breakthrough with Pyongyang.
Heaping praise on Pompeo -- the man he has
already tapped to be the next secretary of
state -- Trump said the 54-year-old's covert
mission to the North Korean capital had gone
"He just left North Korea. Had a great
meeting with Kim Jong Un, and got along with
him really well, really great," Trump said.
"He's very smart but he gets along with
Trump earlier tweeted that the "meeting went
very smoothly and a good relationship was
"Details of Summit are being worked out
now," added the president, who is hosting
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for two
days of talks at his Florida retreat, which
he calls the "Winter White House."
Neither Trump nor the White House offered
details of what was discussed and it remains
unclear if there is enough potential for an
agreement to have the Trump-Kim summit,
slated for early June, go ahead.
Officials and outside experts say it is
still not clear that Kim, who depends on the
military to remain in power, is willing to
completely give up his nuclear weapons.
North Korean talk of "denuclearization" --
which Trump has seemingly embraced -- has in
the past been code for removing America's
military presence on the Korean peninsula,
something long unthinkable in Washington.
"Denuclearization will be a great thing for
World, but also for North Korea!" Trump
added in the tweet.
Nonetheless, the flurry of diplomatic
activity has raised hopes for a pair of
upcoming and potentially historic summits.
- Still enemies -
Kim is expected to meet South Korea's
President Moon Jae-in next week for landmark
talks at which discussion of a formal peace
declaration is now on the cards.
AFP/File / Ed JONES
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice
rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two
sides technically at war -- and the
Demilitarized Zone separating them
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an
armistice rather than a peace treaty,
leaving the two sides technically at war.
The Demilitarized Zone between them bristles
with minefields and fortifications.
Seoul's push to formally declare an end to
inter-Korean hostilities would have been
unthinkable just months ago.
"We are looking at the possibility of
replacing the armistice regime on the Korean
peninsula with a peace regime," a senior
official at South Korea's presidential Blue
House said Wednesday.
"But this is not something we can do by
ourselves. It needs close discussions with
relevant parties including North Korea."
Trump earlier said that the summit could,
with his "blessing," explore a peace treaty
to formally end the conflict.
But reaching any final treaty would be
fraught with complications.
While the US-led United Nations command,
China and North Korea are signatories to the
decades-old armistice, South Korea is not.
Both Pyongyang and Seoul claim sovereignty
over the whole Korean peninsula, but a
treaty could imply mutual recognition of
Next week's meeting will be just the third
summit between the North and South since the
armistice was signed 65 years ago.
Key moments including Kim and Moon's first
handshake will be televised live, both sides
agreed at working-level talks Wednesday,
- US summit by June -
Trump himself plans to hold a summit meeting
with Kim within the next two months.
The pair have not spoken directly, the White
House said, but the president revealed
Tuesday there had been contact at "very high
levels" to prepare for the historic meeting
-- an apparent reference to Pompeo's visit.
Trump also said that "five locations" were
being considered for the summit.
"That will be taking place probably in early
June or before that, assuming things go
well. 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
US officials say that no decision has yet
been made on a meeting venue, but China,
North Korea, South Korea, and Panmunjom in
the Demilitarized Zone are seen as possible