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New details emerge about meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong Un

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A long strained relationship has now been handed a hint of hope, with word that the first round of talks between the U.S. and North Korea was a success.

“As Director Pompeo said, he found Kim Jong Un very prepared organized gave him hope for the engagement," said Victoria Coates, who is a special assistant to President Trump and Senior Director for International Negotiations with the National Security Council.

North Korea will no longer insist the U.S. remove troops from South Korea as a precondition, Coates said in an interview Thursday. But she insists the U.S. would continue its campaign of maximum pressure in the meantime.

“We’re not going to offer all the carrots up front and then hope they’ll do the hard work on the other end. The President has said that until the denuclearization process is complete he’s not taking any of the sanctions off,” Coates said.

Confirmation of the meeting by the White House has brought a largely positive reaction, but those answers have also raised new questions, including from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“Are they going to disarm? Are they going to get rid of their nuclear capability? Are they going to bring down some of the barriers and walls North Korea has put up?” said Rep Darin LaHood (R-IL).

Some Democrats have voiced concern the U.S. diplomatic team isn't as stacked as it should be and therefore may be unprepared for such major negotiations.

“Our state department has been hollowed out in terms of the expertise we have on North Korea,” said Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

“We don’t have ambassador in South Korea. We don’t have the appropriate people in the State Department who have worked on this region,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

The White House response? Let’s not make perfection the enemy of the good.

“I think if we have a moment of opportunity here i think it would be a real shame to squander it because we didn’t like the timing,” Coates said.

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