CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea a few weeks ago to meet Kim Jong Un to prepare for a potential summit with President Donald Trump, two people familiar with the affair and optimistic that the meeting will be a deal could lead.  Photographer: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg
Pompeo – waiting for his confirmation as Secretary of State – made a secret visit on the weekend of March 31 and April 1, people said who did not want to be identified. The trip, first reported by the Washington Post, goes back to an unprecedented meeting between US and North Korean leaders, who, according to Trump, may be "early June or earlier."
The US President told reporters the government "We spoke directly to North Korea." "We had direct talks at a very high level, extremely high levels with North Korea," Trump said after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 1
The trip to Pompeo is part of a worldwide diplomatic uprising after Trump unexpectedly met Kim last month to break the decades-long stalemate over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The head of the Central Intelligence Agency arrived in North Korea a few days after Kim had returned from his surprise visit to Beijing – his first trip outside his country as a leader.
Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, called directly to US contact with Kim "a pretty dramatic development." "Before the summit can take place, talks must be held at a very high level" to create an agenda and other details, Mount said.
The US and North Korea are discussing several locations for the Trump-Kim meeting, a person familiar with the talks said Bloomberg earlier. Potential locations include Geneva and several venues in Asia and Southeast Asia, said the official, who refused to further identify the sites.
The person said the US had not considered Beijing, Pyongyang, Seoul or Panmunjom, the location of the Korean, signing the ceasefire agreement, in which South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Kim next week.
Moon's meeting with Kim is expected to set the stage for Trump's meeting. The two Koreas are discussing plans to announce an official end to the military conflict between the two technically still-in-war countries, reported on Tuesday the South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo, citing an unidentified South Korean official.
Trump also said that he has given South Korea its "blessing" to negotiate a peace agreement with North Korea, and that five places will be considered for its meeting with Kim. South Korea never officially ended its war with North Korea, although the armed conflict ended in 1953 with a ceasefire.
White House secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump did not talk directly to the North Korean leader.  Ending a Very Old War
Trump said he was responsible not only for negotiating a formal peace treaty that ended the war, but also for the success of this year's Winter Olympics in South Korea.
"They were very generous, that without us and without me in particular, I think they would not discuss anything and the Olympics would have been a mistake," said Trump. "As you know, North Korea took part in the Olympics and it really was an Olympiad, it was quite a success, that would not have happened."
Abe praised Trump's leadership and said he had "unshakable conviction and determination." Talks with North Korea made possible. He said he hopes Trump will raise the issue of North Korean abducted Japanese citizens, "a top priority in Japan," and Trump said he would.
"We will raise the abductees and we will raise many different things," said Trump.
Trump said he will meet Kim in early June or before when things are going well. If not, the summit with the North Korean leader may not work "It's possible that things are not going well and we will not have the meetings and we will just keep going on this very strong path," Trump said.
– With the support of Isabel Reynolds and Margaret Talev