Pompeo sets stage for Korean summit

"Details of Summit are being worked out now". Nakamura writes. "If Kim took his own plane, stopping to refuel on the way to any summit could also prove embarrassing by highlighting the limits of the aircraft - and where to stop would be complicated, as well, given the number of countries that have put sanctions on North Korea".

Sweden and Switzerland are among the places the White House is considering for an unprecedented summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to people familiar with the matter.

In an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend, The Washington Post revealed Tuesday.

The summit is expected to take place by early June.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was sent to Pyongyang last month to meet with Kim in advance of the summit.

Pompeo - who's awaiting confirmation as secretary of state - is the highest-ranking USA official to visit the isolated nation since former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000.

The highly unusual, secret visit comes as the enemy nations prepare for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim within the next couple of months.

Two White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive discussions, confirmed that the trip took place over Easter weekend, and not last week as Trump had tweeted.

Trump said officials are evaluating "five locations" as possible summit sites, but he did not name them.

Before the Kim-Pompeo meeting was revealed on Wednesday, South Korea said that it was considering a peace agreement with North Korea. -North Korean summit take place?

One person said the U.S. wasn't considering Beijing, Pyongyang, Seoul or Panmunjom, the site of the Korean armistice signing in 1953.

It would be the first ever summit between USA and North Korea during more than six decades of hostility since the Korean War.

"Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed", Trump tweeted on the second day of meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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The meeting laid the groundwork for talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The young leader met China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing in late March, Kim's first trip overseas since taking power six years ago.

Bloomberg had earlier reported that a "very senior" U.S. official spoke directly with Kim, bypassing third parties, citing a person familiar with the matter. We'll discuss this latest development and all of its implications.

The search for the right summit destination may also depend on factors that do not usually constrain global talks: the possible lack of an appropriate form of transportation, as The Post's David Nakamura writes.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump and Kim have not spoken directly. Trump has nominated Pompeo for secretary of state and predicted Pompeo would go down in history "as one of the great secretaries of state".

With Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., opposing the nomination - he sees the Central Intelligence Agency director as excessively hawkish on North Korea and Iran - the nomination appears unlikely to get out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Congress would be less likely to deliver a humiliating blow to Pompeo right at the moment he is Trump's point man on the North Korea talks.

Democrats have questioned Pompeo's credentials and protested that Senate leaders did not receive a heads-up about his North Korea trip.

"While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don't like the deal for the United States", Trump said. He is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the demilitarized zone between the rival Koreas on April 27.

The president also said Tuesday that he supports talks between North Korea and South Korea over formally ending the state of war that has lasted more than six decades. North Korea and South Korea have officially still been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean War.

South Korea and the United States would consider a peace treaty if Kim completely gives up his nuclear ambitions, the official said.

Will South Korea and North Korea be able to negotiate a peace deal?

"As you know, North Korea participated in the Olympics and it was really quite an Olympics".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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