North Korea has made official mention for the first time of a planned summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, telling visiting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that it would be a “historic” opportunity, state media said Thursday.
Pompeo visited Pyongyang a day earlier to discuss with the North Korean leadership planning for the summit, which will focus on the country’s nuclear weapons program. Media reports have said it is likely to take place in mid-June in Singapore.
Kim, who has conducted a flurry of diplomatic moves in recent weeks, said his summit with Trump “would be a historic meeting” and an “excellent first step” toward the “building of a good future” on the Korean Peninsula, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
Over the last two months, the North Korean leader has met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping twice as well as with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a rare inter-Korean summit. His talks with Pompeo were also the second in recent weeks with the former CIA chief.
The KCNA report of Pompeo’s meeting with Kim came after the top U.S. diplomat secured the release of three Americans detained by the regime. It said that Kim had granted them an “amnesty” after accepting an “official suggestion” from the U.S. president that they be released.
Pompeo also delivered a verbal message from Trump to Kim, for which the North Korean leader “expressed thanks, highly appreciating that the U.S. president has shown deep interest in settling the issue through dialogue.”
The language was a marked shift from just eight months ago, when leaders from the two countries traded a series of pointed threats and insults. Pictures released by KCNA showed Kim and Pompeo, both with wide grins on their faces, shaking hands.