The News – Capital Media
The News – Capital Media
  • 2 trips to NKorea with top US diplomat, 18 years apart

  • It began with quiet words from State Department officials: Apply for a new passport now. You may soon be going to a country for which ordinary U.S. passports are not valid for travel. Vague as it was, the instruction to two reporters last Friday left little doubt about the mystery destination: North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's secretly planned trip would be the second time AP reporter Matthew Lee has covered a visit by a top U.S. diplomat to Pyongyang.

, In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, file photo provided by the North Korean government, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at Workers' Party of Korea headquarters in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

11 of May 2018 18:52:44

WASHINGTON (AP) — It began with quiet words from State Department officials: Apply for a new passport immediately. You may soon be going to a country for which ordinary U.S. passports are not valid for travel.

Vague as it was, the instruction to two reporters last Friday left little doubt about the mystery destination: North Korea.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was traveling to Pyongyang to finalize details for a U.S.-North Korea summit and bring back three U.S. prisoners.

It would be AP reporter Matthew Lee's second visit to the isolated nation. Eighteen years ago, he had accompanied Madeleine Albright on her historic trip to North Korea, the first-ever by a sitting secretary of state.

But this was something completely different: an under-the-radar, secret mission with only two American reporters as independent witnesses.


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