President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday morning that CIA Director Mike Pompeo had a top-secret meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization of the rogue state.
"Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed," Trump wrote.
Trump did not specify exactly when the visit occurred, but The Washington Post said in a Tuesday report that it took place over Easter weekend, earlier than Trump's tweet indicated.
According to the Post, which cited two unnamed sources, the meeting was part of the effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and the head of the rogue state about its nuclear weapons program.
The secret visit came soon after Pompeo was nominated as secretary of state, the Post reported.
"I'm optimistic that the United States government can set the conditions for that appropriately so that the president and the North Korean leader can have that conversation [that] will set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome that America so desperately — America and the world so desperately need," Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week during his confirmation hearing.
The president appeared to allude to the meeting, saying the United States was in direct talks with North Korea "at very high levels."
He said five locations were under consideration for the meeting, which was slated to take place by early June.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump and Kim had not spoken directly.
Pompeo's 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 late father, to discuss strategic issues, the Post noted.
The U.S. and North Korea do not have formal diplomatic relations, complicating the arrangements for contacts. It is not unprecedented for communications to be handled througgh U.S. intelligence channels.
In 2014, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper visited the country to secure the release of two American captives and met with a lower-level intelligence official, the Post reported.
The CIA, White House, and North Korean government would not comment on the reported meeting, according to the Post.
But the Post noted, about a week after Pompeo's trip to North Korea, U.S. officials said there had been direct confirmation Kim was willing to negotiate about denuclearization.
"We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels with North Korea," Trump said Tuesday during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago, his winter resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
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