Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea on Thursday to continue denuclearization talks with the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 6, 2018
South Korean news agency The Chosun Ilbo reported on Friday that Pompeo arrived with two gifts for Kim from President Donald Trump – a letter, and a CD recording of Sir Elton John’s hit song “Rocket Man” complete with Trump’s signature.
“The ‘Rocket Man’ CD was the subject of discussion during Trump’s lunch with Kim. Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as ‘rocket man’ when tensions ran high last year,” one diplomatic source in Washington told Chosun Ilbo. “Trump then asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said no.”
Pompeo has neither confirmed nor denied if he brought the CD with him for his two-day visit. On Saturday, State Department Heather Nauert told NBC News that Pompeo was not carrying any such CD. She did confirm the letter from Trump to Kim, however.
If I were Elton John, I’d put a stop to this pronto. https://t.co/f1aBtE5ePL
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) July 6, 2018
South Korean media said the gifts “reflect Trump’s expectations that Kim will follow through on the pledges in an agreement the two signed at their summit.”
This is as nutty as calling Kim Rocket Man. https://t.co/M8dSQUC9h3
— Randy Prine #FamiliesBelongTogether (@randyprine) July 6, 2018
Pompeo’s visit will consist of meetings with North Korean leadership to continue the process of trying to convince Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.
Accompanying Pompeo are U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, National Security Council adviser Allison Hooker, assistant secretary of defense for Asia Pacific security affairs Randall Schriver, Andrew Kim, head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, and six reporters.
National Security Advisor John Bolton said last week that there is a one year plan for denuclearization.
“We have developed a program. I am sure that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their [weapons of mass destruction] and ballistic missile programs in a year,” Bolton said. “If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they are cooperative, we can move very quickly. And it is to North Korea’s advantage to dismantle very quickly. Then the elimination of sanctions, aid by South Korea and Japan and others can all begin to flower.”
Last month, however, 38 North reported that North Korea has been ramping up production at its Yongbyon nuclear research facility, detailing new construction and increasing activity at sites used for enriching nuclear material.
NBC News added to these concerns at the end of June. NBC reported that intelligence officials believe Kim “may try to hide” nuclear weapons facilities from inspectors “as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration.”