U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way to North Korea to prepare for his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo was expected to arrive in the North shortly, Trump said during a news conference on his decision to withdraw the U.S. from a nuclear deal with Iran.
"At this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un," Trump said. "Plans are being made. Relationships are building. Hopefully, a deal will happen, and with the help of China, South Korea and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone."
Pompeo's trip comes shortly after Kim returned home from a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in northern China. Kim reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula if "relevant parties" -- an apparent reference to the U.S. -- halted "hostile policies" and "security threats," according to China's Xinhua news agency.
It's the second time Pompeo has traveled to Pyongyang to prepare for the unprecedented U.S.-North Korea summit. His first trip over Easter weekend was disclosed after his return.
Trump tweeted at the time that Pompeo had formed a "good relationship" with Kim.
"We think relationships are building with North Korea," Trump said Tuesday. "We'll see how it all works out. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the entire world. We hope it all works out."
He reaffirmed that the location and date for his meeting with Kim have been set, but did not elaborate.
Trump has said he will meet with Kim late this month or in early next month to discuss the denuclearization of the regime. Possible sites include the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas, and Singapore.
The summit has heightened expectations for the release of three American detainees in the North.
"We'll all soon be finding out," Trump said. "It would be a great thing if they are."
Speaking to American reporters en route to Pyongyang, Pompeo said he would be asking the North Koreans to "do the right thing."
"We have been asking for the release of these detainees for ... 17 months," he said, according to a transcript released by the State Department. "We'll talk about it again today. I think it'd be a great gesture if they would choose to do so."
Source: Yonhap News Agency