US President Donald Trump has confirmed that CIA director Mike Pompeo recently traveled to Pyongyang for a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong-un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
"Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!" he added, regarding efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Trump nominated Pompeo last month to replace Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State. He is currently waiting to be confirmed by the US Senate in Congress.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea during the first weekend of April, citing two people with direct knowledge of the trip.
The extraordinary meeting between one of Trumpís most trusted officials and Kim was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Koreaís nuclear weapons program, the newspaper said.
According to a US official, Pompeoís visit to the North was arranged by South Korean intelligence chief Suh Hoon with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol. The meeting was intended to assess whether Kim was prepared to hold serious talks.
Trump had previously acknowledged that Washington and Pyongyang were in contact at "very high levels."
On Tuesday, Trump backed efforts between North and South Korea aimed at ending inter-Korean hostilities. He also said that five locations were being considered for his proposed meeting with Kim.
Kim is expected to meet South Koreaís President Moon Jae-In at a landmark meeting next Friday where discussion of a peace declaration is now on the cards. The summit could explore a peace treaty to formally end the conflict.
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically at war. The Demilitarised Zone between them bristles with minefields and fortifications.
Next weekís meeting will be just the third summit between the North and South since the armistice was signed 65 years ago.
Trump himself plans to hold a summit meeting with Kim within the next two months.
Tensions were running high between Washington and Pyongyang over North Koreaís missile and nuclear programs.
Trump and Kim have repeatedly traded insults and threats of military attacks that raised fears of a war between Pyongyang and Washington in recent months.