US intelligence officials appear to be in Pyongyang negotiating preparations for the US-North Korea summit, according to a Japanese media report.
Washington is currently arranging a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The meeting, if successfully arranged, is expected to take place by early June, about a month after the inter-Korean summit, which is set for Friday.
According to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, a number of US officials who appear to be associated with the CIA have been in Pyongyang since CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s visit earlier this month.
The report said that Pompeo’s visit was arranged through South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, and that he was accompanied by five high-level officials.
According to the Japanese paper, Pompeo, who has been picked by US President Donald Trump as the next secretary of state, met with Kim Jong-un three or four times during his visit. Their meetings were conducted in a friendly atmosphere with Kim praising Pompeo for his “guts,” according to the report.
The report also claimed that Kim talked of releasing US captives as well as of “complete denuclearization,” and did not demand the US withdraw troops from South Korea.
Pompeo, whose trip to North Korea was confirmed by Washington, also met with Kim Yong-chol during his trip, the Japanese daily reported.
Kim Yong-chol is North Korea’s top intelligence officer, thought to have masterminded a number of attacks against South Korea.
According to a Daily Mail report, citing Asahi Shimbun, Pompeo was accompanied by National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon. A top Cheong Wa Dae press officer, however, said that the report could not be confirmed.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com