North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not known to have a candid relationship with international diplomats, but there are exceptions to the rule. During U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to the Asian nation last year, Jong-un made a rare personal comment about his family which showed that ultimately — behind all the facade — he is a family man too, according to Reuters.
The details of the conversation were relayed by former CIA official Andrew Kim, who was present with Pompeo during his trip to North Korea. The trip was made in an effort to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the historic first summit between Trump and Jong-un.
When asked whether he was willing to end the nuclear program by Pompeo, Jong-un reportedly raised the concern he has for his kids.
“‘I’m a father and a husband. And I have children’,” Andrew quoted Jong-un as saying.
“‘And I don’t want my children to carry the nuclear weapon on their back their whole life.’ That was his answer.”
Andrew Kim made the revelation during a lecture this week at Stanford University’s Asia Pacific Research Center, where he serves as a visiting scholar. An expert on the Koreas, Kim established the Korea Mission Center just before retiring from his CIA role and was one of the intelligence officials who traveled with Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang in April of last year.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 23, 2019
Pompeo’s trip was seen as something of a success by the United States, as he managed to convince Kim Jong-un to attend a summit with President Trump in Singapore, which took place in June of last year.
The two leaders pledged to work towards peace, with Trump insisting that Kim Jong-un had acquiesced to his plans of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. But as was widely reported shortly after the summit, U.S. intelligence officials doubted Jong-un’s intention at the time. These suspicions seem to have been further validated, seeing as how little progress has been made when it comes to North Korea’s denuclearization.
Trump and Jong-un are — once again — supposed to meet next week in Hanoi, with Russia’s TASS news agency reporting that the North Korean leader had left Pyongyang via train. As reported by Bloomberg, the journey to Hanoi will likely take him at least two days, with Jong-un having to deboard on the Vietnam-China border, which he will reportedly cross in a car.
“Kim travels on a heavily fortified train equipped with luxury carriages that plod along the tracks at slow speeds due to its weight and construction,” Bloomberg reported.