STANFORD, California, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year that he intends to abandon his nuclear weapons program for the sake of his children, a former U.S. intelligence official said Friday.
Kim made the remark when Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang in April 2018 to confirm the regime's stated willingness to denuclearize, according to Andrew Kim, who retired at the end of last year as head of the Central Intelligence Agency's Korea Mission Center.
"We asked, specifically, the director, Pompeo asked Chairman Kim: Do you really intend to denuclearize? And the way he replied was that, the chairman said: You know, I'm a father and I'm a husband and I have children and I don't want my children to carry the nuclear weapon in their bag to live through their entire life. That was his answer," Kim said during a talk at Stanford University.
The revelation comes days before U.S. President Donald Trump is to meet with the North Korean leader in Hanoi, Vietnam, to flesh out an agreement to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The Feb. 27-28 meeting follows a historic first summit in Singapore in June, at which the leaders also committed to build new bilateral relations and lasting peace on the peninsula.
"During that meeting (in April), Chairman Kim not only confirmed his intention to denuclearize but strongly emphasized the need to improve the U.S. and North Korean relationship in order to build trust before North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons," Kim, the former intelligence official, added.
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