The State Department said Saturday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not gift North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a copy of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” signed by the president, despite reports from South Korean media.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told NBC News that Pompeo did not deliver the CD, despite a report from South Korean media outlet The Chosun Ilbo stating that Pompeo was delivering the CD after President Trump learned Kim was unaware of the hit song.
“The ‘Rocket Man’ CD was the subject of discussion during Trump’s lunch with Kim. Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as ‘rocket man’ when tensions ran high last year,” a source told the South Korean news outlet. “Trump then asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said ‘no.’ ”
Trump has repeatedly nicknamed Kim “Rocket Man” over North Korea’s controversial nuclear weapons program, famously using the moniker during an address to the United Nations General Assembly last year.
Nauert did confirm Saturday that a letter from Trump to Kim had been delivered to North Korean officials amid a terse statement from Pyongyang slamming U.S. officials over what it said were calls for unilateral denuclearization.
An anonymous spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry in a statement accused the U.S. of “betraying the spirit” of the summit between Trump and Kim last month, according to The Associated Press.
Pompeo, however, gave a rosier view of two days of recent negotiations with North Korean officials in a statement to reporters just before leaving for the U.S. on Saturday.
“These are complicated issues but we made progress on almost all the central issues. Some places, a great deal of progress, other places, there’s still work to be done,” he said.