US President Donald Trump has announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is en route to North Korea ahead of Mr Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Mr Trump said on Tuesday afternoon that Mr Pompeo will be arriving in the country shortly and has meetings scheduled.
It will be Mr Pompeo’s second known visit to the country. Mr Trump revealed last month that Mr Pompeo also met with Mr Kim over the Easter weekend.
Mr Trump said the time and date of his planned meeting with Mr Kim have now been agreed, but he has yet to reveal where or when it will happen.
Mr Trump broke the news while announcing his plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.
US officials said Mr Pompeo will on Wednesday press North Korea for the release of three detained American citizens, whose imminent release Mr Trump has been hinting at.
His trip comes just days after North Korea expressed displeasure with Washington for comments suggesting that massive US pressure had pushed Mr Kim to the negotiating table.
Mr Pompeo, who first travelled to North Korea as CIA chief in early April, is only the second sitting secretary of state to visit the reclusive nation with which it is still technically at war.
The first was Madeleine Albright in 2000 who went as part of an unsuccessful bid to arrange a meeting between then-President Bill Clinton and Kim’s father Kim Jong Il.
“At this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un,” Mr Trump said at the White House.
“Plans are being made, relationships are building, hopefully a deal will happen and with the help of China, South Korea and Japan a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone,” he said.