During a campaign rally in Atlanta in June 2016, Donald Trump said he would want to talk nukes with Kim Jong Un over burgers and fries.
North Korea might not be willing to denuclearize — but it’s open to launching an American-style fast-food joint in its capital as a show of goodwill to President Donald Trump, according to a report Tuesday.
An intelligence assessment compiled by the CIA and described to NBC News by three U.S. officials concludes that the Kim Jong Un regime is not prepared to let go of its nuclear arsenal, a finding at sharp odds with some of Trump’s recent claims.
“Everybody knows they are not going to denuclearize,” one of the officials said.
However, the Kim regime is willing to offer a number of concessions, including opening a hamburger franchise in Pyongyang, according to the CIA report.
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The bizarre offer indicates Kim is eager to convey a placating message to Trump, whose love of fast food is well-documented.
During a campaign rally in Atlanta in June 2016, Trump said he would want to talk nukes with Kim over burgers and fries. “We should be eating a hamburger on a conference table, and we should make better deals with China and others,” Trump said at the time.
Also Tuesday, the White House announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in New York later this week, as the fate of a long-awaited summit between Trump and Kim remains in the air.
Pompeo has taken the lead on efforts regarding North Korea in recent months and twice visited the nation and has met with Kim Jong Un.
Details of Pompeo’s meet with Kim Yong Chol were not immediately clear.
Trump, meanwhile, “continues to actively prepare” for an “expected summit” with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Plans for the high profile sit-down were scrapped by Trump last week, but talks have continued.
The on-again-off-again talks, centered around denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, have seen a flurry of activity in recent days since Trump sent a letter to Kim Jong Un calling off their high-stakes diplomatic date.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday that the president had “sent over two delegations — one for logistics and one for more diplomatic purposes.”
“But, as the president has said,” she added, “if it doesn’t happen June 12 it could happen thereafter.”
Trump cited hostile comments from North Korea as the reason he withdrew from the potentially historic summit.
Sanders said that since the president’s letter, “the North Koreans have been engaging” with the U.S.
“The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump’s expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
Since then, Trump has voiced optimism that the face-to-face could still take place.
Kim Jong Un has expressed a willingness to cooperate to end confrontation between the two Koreans and work toward peace for the sake of a successful summit with Trump, South Korean officials have said.
But the North Korean leader also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to end hostile policies against his country and provide security assurances if the country does abandon its nuclear weapons, according to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Moon held a surprise meeting with the North Korean leader Saturday in an effort to keep the summit alive.
Sanders also said Trump will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House on June 7 and the two will discuss the potential meeting and a U.S. delegation is meeting with the North Korean delegation at the DMZ.
Deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin is also traveling in Singapore with a team to plan for logistics.
National security adviser John Bolton has been on the phone with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts “virtually every day,” Sanders said.
The White House also held off on announcing a new round of economic sanctions this week as officials attempted to piece the peace talks back together.