April 26, 2018 / 12:52 PM / a month ago

Trump says he is weighing options for North Korea meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he is considering three or four dates as well as five locations for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, adding that it remains unclear whether the meeting will occur.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his Oval Office meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron (not pictured) following the official arrival ceremony for Macron at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Trump, speaking in an interview on Fox News Channel, said that then Secretary of State-designate and CIA chief Mike Pompeo’s meeting with Kim in North Korea over the Easter weekend a few weeks ago was unplanned.

“He wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong Un but he did. They arranged while he was there to say hello,” Trump said.

Pompeo, who was sworn in as secretary of state on Thursday, and Kim spoke for more than an hour in what Trump said was “more than a hello.”

The White House later released two photographs of Pompeo and Kim shaking hands. In one they faced each other looking serious; in the other they both appeared to wear faint smiles. bit.ly/2KfRHN3

“Great to have Secretary Pompeo confirmed,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted. “He will do an excellent job helping @POTUS lead our efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.”

A U.S. government handout photo released by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shows U.S. Central Intelligence (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea in a photo that Sanders said was taken over Easter weekend 2018. U.S. Government via REUTERS

Trump earlier described the pictures of Pompeo and Kim’s encounter as “incredible.” The photos show the two men in a reception room standing in front of painted panels showing trees and white birds.

North Korea has developed nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, heightening international tensions, and Trump hopes to persuade Kim to give them up. A Trump-Kim meeting would be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was scheduled to meet with Kim on Friday. A White House official has said Trump may meet with Moon before the U.S-North Korea meeting.

Trump has said he expects to meet with Kim in May or June.

“It could be that I walk out quickly - with respect - but ... it could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place,” he told Fox News by telephone. “Who knows. But I can tell you right now they want to meet.”

Reporting by Susan Heavey and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Bill Trott and James Dalgleish

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