Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea this weekend where he will meet with dictator Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced Tuesday. He will also travel to Japan, South Korea and China on his swing through Asia, she said.
Pompeo is expected to lay the groundwork for a second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim.
While speaking at a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, over the weekend, Trump said that he and Kim “fell in love.”
The trip would be Pompeo’s fourth to North Korea and comes a month after Trump canceled a trip the top US diplomat had planned for August. At the time, Trump said there hadn’t been enough progress on denuclearization.
“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump tweeted on August 24.
Nauert initially announced plans for Pompeo’s trip last month after he met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“Secretary Pompeo accepted Chairman Kim’s invitation to travel to Pyongyang next month to make further progress on the implementation of the commitments from the US-DPRK Singapore summit, including the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, and to prepare for a second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim,” she said in a statement.
Following the initial announcement, Trump said the summit will happen “fairly quickly” and showed reporters a new missive he had received from Kim, describing it as an “extraordinary letter.”
Kim “wants to see things happen for North Korea that are great,” Trump said, speaking to reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“They really have the potential” to be an economic power, Trump said. “A lot of good things are happening,” he added.
It isn’t clear whether North Korea has made any substantial changes when it comes to denuclearization, but Trump and Pompeo have been telegraphing the possibility of a second summit for several weeks.
In his remarks during a non-proliferation meeting at the UN, Trump said there have been developments that aren’t yet publicly known.
“It looks like we’ll have a second summit quite soon,” he said. “As you know, Kim Jong Un wrote a beautiful letter and asked me for a second meeting. We will be doing that.”
Critics have pointed out that the Singapore declaration contained no firm commitments from North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs and US officials have expressed frustration at North Korea’s evasion of sanctions.
CNN’s Nicole Gaouette contributed reporting