Not many Americans have shaken the hand of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un but in new photos released on Thursday, newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is doing just that.
They are the first publicly released photos from their clandestine meeting over the Easter weekend.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out two remarkable photos of Pompeo and Kim, which show the two unsmiling representatives of their country, both in dark suits, firmly gripping the other’s hand in an ornate room in an undisclosed part of North Korea.
Pompeo made the visit while he was CIA director, before he was confirmed as secretary of state. The Senate confirmed Pompeo Thursday for the top diplomatic position in the United States.
Sanders tweeted on Thursday that Pompeo “will do an excellent job helping @POTUS lead our effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.”
President Donald Trump teased the existence of the photos during a free-wheeling interview on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday morning, saying: “We have incredible pictures of the two talking and meeting which I would love to release if we can. I will do that. Not a bad idea.”
The world continues to wait for details on a Trump-Kim meeting, which the President says will occur in late May or early June. Locales such as Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore and Mongolia have been suggested as potential places for the meeting, per US officials.
During a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Trump reiterated that the campaign of “maximum pressure” on North Korea will continue, as to “not repeat the mistakes of past administrations.”
He also told reporters that he has a “very simple” view of North Korean denuclearization: “It means they get rid of their nukes.”