CIA director met N. Korean leader says Trump

‘The meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,’ says American president
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that his CIA director met with North Korea’s leader, a day after acknowledging the U.S. and the North were engaged in talks “at extremely high levels”.
The U.S. and North Korea lack formal diplomatic relations, increasing the significance of the high-level meeting between Mike Pompeo, who has been tapped by Trump to helm the State Department, and Kim Jong-un.
Trump said Pompeo met with Kim “last week”, saying it “went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed” in a statement he issued on Twitter.
The acknowledgement of the Pompeo-Kim meeting follows the White House’s refusal to confirm reports of the sit-down. The Washington Post was the first to report it, describing it as laying the groundwork for an historic meeting between Kim and Trump.
“Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Trump said.
Originally planned for May, Trump appeared to pad the timeframe Tuesday, saying it could occur in June “or a little before that”.
“Hopefully that will be a success. Maybe it will be and maybe it won’t be. We don’t know. But we’ll see what happens,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Addressing reporters Wednesday alongside Abe, Trump said the U.S. is working “very diligently” to free three Americans being held in captivity in North Korea.
North Korea has regularly used American detainees as bargaining chips, and concern for the trio — Kim Hak Song, Kim Dong Chul and Kim Sang-duk, who is also known as Tony Kim — has grown after a fourth American detainee, Otto Warmbier, died shortly after he was released from North Korean custody last summer.
Trump said he thinks “there’s a good chance” of freeing the three, calling talks to secure their release a “very good dialogue”.
“We are in there and we are working very hard on that,” he said.
– ‘Blessing’ to end Korean War
No sitting American president has ever met in person with a North Korean leader, and Trump surprised many last month after he accepted Kim’s offer to meet following months of vitriolic mudslinging between the leaders that repeatedly devolved into threats of extreme violence.
Trump said the U.S. will call off the potentially historic meeting if prospects are dim for a fruitful outcome, adding he will “respectfully leave” if the meeting does not appear to be moving towards a positive outcome.
The U.S. has led an international campaign to apply economic pressure on Pyongyang in order to curtail its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, which has resulted in some of the most stringent UN sanctions to date.
Trump said Tuesday he has given his “blessing” to efforts to end the decades-long war between the North and the South as the neighbors pursue a touch-and-go detente.
Hostilities in the Korean war, which began in 1950, ended three years later with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty between the principal belligerents, meaning the war technically never ended.
The North and South are reporting mulling an official end to the conflict and could make an announcement during a joint summit planned for next week.
The local Munhwa Ilbo newspaper reported the development, citing an anonymous South Korean official.
Addressing the warming ties between the North and South, Trump said the countries “wouldn’t be discussing anything” without him.–AA

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