CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly travelled to Pyongyang over Easter weekend to meet Kim Jong Un for the highest-level direct talks between the US and North Korea since Madeleine Albright's visit as secretary of state in 2000, sources tell the Washington Post and the AP. Pompeo made the highly unusual trip to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Kim and President Trump over North Korea's nuclear program, the sources say. Trump accepted North Korea's invitation to talks last month, but no location has been announced yet for what would be the first-ever meeting between a sitting president and a North Korean leader. The meeting is expected to happen by early June.
Pompeo, who made the trip to Pyongyang soon after he was nominated to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that he is "optimistic" that the US can set the appropriate conditions for a meeting that "will set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome" that "America and the world so desperately need." Trump was apparently alluding to the meeting Tuesday when he told reporters at Mar-a-Lago that the US and North Korea have already had "direct talks" at "very high levels." He said five different locations are being considered for the meeting, none of which are in the US. (A formal end to the Korean War may be in sight.)