Trump treats Kim to a Rocket Man CD amid nuclear talks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits North Korea packing an Elton John song.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
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U.S. President Trump Meets North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un During Landmark Summit In Singapore

President Trump and Kim Jong-un's historical handshake at the summit in Singapore last month.

Handout/Getty Images

What do you give a head of state you once threatened with nuclear annihilation. Apparently, it's a copy of a 46-year-old pop tune by Elton John .

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to North Korea on Thursday to talk about denuclearization. Among the things he packed were two gifts from President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un: a letter from Trump and an Elton John CD with the 1972 hit song Rocket Man, according to The Chosun Ilbo, citing unnamed Washington sources.

"Rocket man," of course, is the nickname Trump famously -- and mockingly -- bestowed on Kim at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries after long-range missile tests by North Korea.

At a summit meeting between the two leaders in Singapore last month, Trump learned that Kim didn't know the song, Chosun Ilbo reported. The CD has a message written on it by Trump, along with his signature, the news agency said.

Skepticism remains high about whether there will be practical gains following the Trump-Kim summit, given the lack of concrete promises. Pompeo will stay in Pyongyang for two days, according to The Chosun Ilbo, and discuss North Korea's dismantlement of a specified amount of nuclear weapons with a specified time frame. It's unclear if Pompeo can get a definite answer from the North during this visit.

Trump and Kim had a history of name-calling, as documented by The New York Times. The first time Trump called Kim "Rocket Man" was during an address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19, 2017, when he warned against North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons. "Rocket Man," Trump said, "is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."

Trump then tweeted four days later calling Kim "Little Rocket Man."

Neither the White House nor the Department of State immediately responded to requests for comments.