According to the US press, during his meeting with Kim Jong-un in April, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a joke about killing the North Korean leader. The reaction could not have been more unexpected.
Still, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo, visited North Korea to begin the negotiations that led to the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.
While Pompeo was still director of the agency, North Korea accused the organization of attempting to assassinate Kim, as the Business Insider reported last year. Pompeo himself defended regime change in Pyongyang, after a series of nuclear tests in 2017.
“The North Korean people, I’m sure, are made up of lovely people who would love to see him [Kim] go,” Pompeo told CNN in July last year, without citing any evidence.
When he first met Kim personally a few months later, the subject was still taboo. According to Vanity Fair magazine, quoting an anonymous source close to Pompeo, the North Korean leader “immediately questioned” Pompeo about his homicidal desires.
“But Pompeo did not back down,” Tracy wrote. “The CIA director joked that he was still trying to kill him, the source said. The two men laughed.”
Kim’s caution is not unfounded: while the United States official position is that it does not plan any regime changes in foreign countries, reports of training South Korean troops with the rehearsing of Kim’s murder are still ongoing, according to Task & Purpose.
However, the prank seems to have worked well, since both Kim and Pompeo posed for photos and proceeded with the negotiations.
“This is the first time I meet someone with the same kind of courage,” Kim said of Pompeo after the meeting, according to United Press International.
The US has always targeted North Korea as it follows an independent foreign policy and has not opened its country’s vast natural resources, over $1 trillion worth, to US capitalist corporations.