The secretary of state made the front page of the North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper Thursday, something that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his second trip to North Korea Wednesday to lay the groundwork for President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as secure the release of three American prisoners. The front page of the Rodong Sinmun featured an image of Pompeo shaking hands with the North Korean leader, who hopes to meet the secretary again in the future.
Extraordinary: The front page of North Korea’s main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, has Kim Jong Un shaking hands with a former military man/spy chief; appreciating Trump’s “deep interest” in dialogue; and hoping to see Pompeo again. KJU is personally invested in this process. pic.twitter.com/jVfW12nfpo
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) May 10, 2018
During Pompeo’s 90-minute meeting with Kim Wednesday, the North Korean leader, according to a feature story leading the website for the state-run Korean Central News Agency, “warmly greeted Mike Pompeo and sincerely congratulated him on his recent official assumption as secretary of state.” Pompeo delivered a personal message from Trump, to which he responded with gratitude, KCNA reported.
During the meeting, Kim made his first on-the-record acknowledgement of the upcoming leadership summit, stating that “the coming DPRK-U.S. summit would be a historic meeting for the excellent first step toward promotion of the positive situation development in the Korean peninsula and building of a good future.”
Kim also agreed to release the three American prisoners, who arrived home Thursday morning.
I had productive meetings in Pyongyang with Chairman Kim Jong-un and made progress. I’m delighted to bring home three Americans.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 9, 2018
North Korean state media also aired video footage of the meeting between Pompeo and Kim, a meeting that would have been impossible this time in 2017, when the threat of war loomed over the Korean Peninsula.
JUST IN: North Korean TV broadcasts video of Mike Pompeo meeting Kim Jong Un earlier today pic.twitter.com/raYG4nuKMs
— Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) May 10, 2018
Speaking on the tarmac after welcoming the released prisoners home, Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for freeing them and expressed optimism about his planned meeting with the North Korean leader.
“We’re starting off on a new footing,” he said before dawn Thursday, “I think this will be a very big success. It’s never been taken this far, there’s never been a relationship like this. Some great things can happen, and that’s what we hope.”
There are still a lot of unknowns going forward and a lot of water under the bridge, but interactions with North Korea have thus far been positive, potentially paving the way for peace.
You ask what security guarantees could look like?
You ask what ending the hostile policy could look like?
Good start. pic.twitter.com/XIDBxzFLAo
— John Delury (@JohnDelury) May 10, 2018
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