President Donald Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will likely involve the release of three American citizens currently detained in the hermit country, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
North Korean officials gave CIA Director Mike Pompeo assurances that the summit between Trump and Kim could be linked to the release of the U.S. citizens, the Journal reported, citing “people briefed on the meeting.”
Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state nominee, secretly met with Kim over Easter weekend in preparation for Trump and Kim’s talks, which are expected to take place in May or early June.
Trump on Wednesday confirmed Pompeo’s secret meeting in a tweet, saying it “went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed.” He also said that details of his North Korea meeting were “being worked out now.”
Pompeo mentioned the release of the three Americans in his Pyongyang meeting, according to Reuters. At a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, Trump spoke positively about the release.
“We are likewise fighting very diligently to get the three American citizens back. I think there’s a good chance of doing it,” Trump said. “We’re having very good dialogue.”
The three Americans are believed to be U.S. businessman Kim Dong-chul, 62, of Virginia, who was charged with spying and stealing state secrets in 2016; Kim Sang-duk, who had been teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was arrested in April 2017; and Kim Hak-song, who also worked at the Pyongyang university and was detained in May 2017, according to the Journal.
During Pompeo’s confirmation hearing last week, Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he was confident the U.S. could work on an agreement with North Korea for denuclearization.
“I’m optimistic that the United States government can set the conditions for that appropriately so that the president and North Korean leader can have that conversation and will set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome that America and the world so desperately need,” he said, according to The Associated Press.