CIA Chief Pompeo Met with Kim Jong-Un, Media reports say
CIA director Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang for a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to multiple media reports.
The meeting to prepare for direct talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim took place over Easter weekend, according to unnamed officials reported by several news outlets.
Earlier Trump acknowledged the U.S. had held direct talks at high levels.
During a walk with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their spouses on the grounds of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, the president was asked by a reporter if he had talked with Kim. Trump turned towards the group of journalists, smiled and replied, “yes.”
A few minutes later, at the start of dinner with the Japanese couple, the president was again asked the same question. “Let’s leave it a little bit short of that. But we’ve had talks at the highest level,” Trump replied. “And it’s going very well. We’ll see what happens.”
Within minutes, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also knocked down any confirmation of direct communication between Kim and the president or his top officials.
“In regards to talks with Leader Kim Jong-un: The President said the administration has had talks at the highest levels and added that they were not with him directly,” Huckabee Sanders said in a comment e-mailed to reporters.
United in Strikes, Paris and Washington May Divide Over Longer-Term Syria Strategy
After coming together in striking suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria, the U.S. and its European allies, France and Britain, may be far less unified in finding longer-term solutions for the conflict-torn country.
The first differences were on display hours after the strikes, as the White House appeared to rebut suggestions by French President Emmanuel Macron that he convinced his U.S. counterpart to remain in Syria and agree to limited military action.
Then came Macron’s own re-messaging. The two countries were in line, he told reporters Monday, on how they viewed both their military and peace-building engagements.
Still, the Syria strategy, as outlined by Macron in recent days, seems far from being in lockstep with Washington. In particular, it demands engaging key Trump administration nemesis Iran, among other regional actors, to help resolve the tangled conflict.
And while the French president aims to position himself as Washington’s go-to leader in Europe, in matters ranging from climate change to trade, experts question whether he can deliver tangible results.
Those questions will be front and center next week, when Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump hold talks in Washington.