CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of State, secretly traveled to North Korea over Easter weekend to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo made the trip for high-level talks to discuss the planned bilateral meeting with Trump later this year. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
Trump announced on March 13 his decision to fire Rex Tillerson and replace him with Pompeo, but the CIA director is still waiting for a confirmation vote from the Senate. Tillerson left the State Department on March 22.
During his confirmation hearings on Thursday, Pompeo told U.S. Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he was “optimistic” that the government could set Trump up for success.
The president hinted that “direct talks at very high levels” had already taken place with North Korea, while hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
He denied personally speaking to Jong-un via the White House press office.
Trump appeared eager to conclude a successful negotiation with North Korea, although he autioned that the meeting could be canceled at any time.
“There’s a great chance to solve a world problem,” He told reporters. “This is not a problem for the United States. This is not a problem for Japan or any other country. This is a problem for the world.”