CIA director Mike Pompeo reportedly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three or four times during his three-day stay in Pyongyang.
Kim reportedly claimed Pompeo has the ‘same fire in the belly as I do,’ according to Asahi, a Japanese daily newspaper.
He also embraced the idea of ‘complete dunuclearization’ when he met with Pompeo ahead of a historic summit with President Donald Trump, sources told the newspaper.
The two nations are still working out the details of the meeting – the first between a North Korean leader and US president – but it is expected to be held in May or June.
CIA director Mike Pompeo (pictured) reportedly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three or four times during his three-day stay in Pyongyang
Pompeo, who is Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, visited North Korea over the Easter weekend accompanied by five CIA staff members.
According to Asahi, he first met Kim on April 1 accompanied by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon.
During that encounter, he was told about the possibility of ‘complete denuclearization.’
But the North Korean leader was reportedly reluctant to include any specific clauses and called for sanctions to be eased.
Kim also reportedly agreed to release three American hostages.
During his visit, Pompeo also reportedly met the North’s intelligence chief Kim Yong-chol.
Kim Jong-un reportedly claimed the CIA director has the ‘same fire in the belly as I do’
The North Korean leader (right) also embraced the idea of ‘complete dunuclearization’ when he met with Pompeo ahead of a historic summit with President Donald Trump
It comes as Trump falsely claimed that North Korea agreed to ‘denuclearisation’ in a tweet on Sunday.
North Korea said on Friday it would suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of summits with the US and South Korea.
Kim also said a nuclear test site would be closed and ‘dismantled’ now that the country has learned how to make nuclear weapons and mount warheads on ballistic rockets.
But North Korea has stopped short of saying it has any intention of abandoning its nuclear arsenal, with Kim making clear that nukes remain a ‘treasured sword’.
Trump, however, tweeted on Sunday that North Korea has ‘agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!’
It comes as Pompeo faces serious opposition before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which may not have enough votes to recommend him for confirmation because all Democrats, and at least one Republican, have said they will oppose him.
Kim and President Donald Trump (pictured) could meet at a historic summit in May or June
The full Senate is still expected to consider Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State later this week.
But the rare rebuke expected from the panel on Monday, even after Pompeo’s recent visit with the North Korean leader, would be the first time in years that a nominee for the high-level Cabinet position did not receive a favorable committee vote.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the committee, blamed partisan politics for opposition to Pompeo, saying he is just as qualified as past secretaries of state nominees Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, both of whom received overwhelming support.
‘We are in an era where somebody like this, who is qualified, unfortunately, is likely to be voted out without recommendation or with a negative recommendation,’ Corker said Sunday on ‘State of the Union’ on CNN.
‘It’s just sad that our nation has devolved politically to this point.’
Pompeo’s confirmation before the full Senate now hangs in balance, with the votes of just a handful of senators determining whether he becomes the nation’s top diplomat after Trump fired Rex Tillerson last month.
Key Democrats, including some who had voted for Pompeo as CIA director last year, are peeling away, and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky remains opposed, despite personal overtures from the president.
Pressure is mounting on senators from both sides.
North Korea said on Friday it would suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of summits with the US and South Korea. File photo
White House allies are unloading ad campaigns against Democrats from Trump-won states, including North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri, to vote for the president’s nominee.
But progressive groups are pounding senators’ offices in opposition to Pompeo’s hawkish foreign policy views and negative comments about gay marriage and Muslims.
Several Democratic senators who supported Pompeo for CIA director say Pompeo’s views are not reflective of those they want in the top diplomat.