US-North Korea talks: CIA director Mike Pompeo met Kim Jong-un earlier this month, say reports
Ahead of the possible talks between North Korea and the United States (US), reports have now emerged that CIA director Mike Pompeo secretly travelled to Pyongyang around the April 1 and held a meeting with Kim Jong-un. Pompeo's meeting with Kim marks the first such high-level interaction between the two countries since 2000, when then secretary of state Madeleine Albright travelled to meet late Kim Jong-il, the current North Korea leader's father, said an HT report.
President Donald Trump had on Wednesday (April 18) said the US was in direct talks with North Korea "at a very high level" ahead of his planned summit with Kim Jong-un. The two countries were looking at five potential venues for the summit, "but it is not in the United States", Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago where he was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"We've also started talking to North Korea directly. We have had direct talks at very high levels -- extremely high levels -- with North Korea," Trump said before a restricted bilateral meeting with Abe.
"I really believe there's a lot of goodwill. A lot of good things are happening. We'll see what happens. As I always say, we'll see what happens. Because ultimately, it's the end result that counts, not the fact that we're thinking about having a meeting or having a meeting," he added.
The CIA has also been working with its North Korean counterpart, Reconnaissance Intelligence Bureau. Pompeo has also been in touch with the director of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon, who, according to an official cited by The New York Times, brokered Kim's invitation to Trump.
Abe, on his part, said the planned meeting between South Korea and North Korea was made possible with the help of Trump who successfully pressured Pyongyang into softening its stance.
"Since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, we have observed a major change in terms of North Korea's behaviour. Background of this change is Donald's (Trump)unwavering conviction, as well as the determination that you demonstrated in addressing the issue of North Korea. So your stance made it possible to achieve this major change," he said.
The Japanese prime minister expressed hope that the US-North Korea summit meeting yields tangible progress toward resolving a wide range of issues, from nuclear issues, missile issues to the abductions issue.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs