Seoul optimistic about "secret, direct contact" between USA and North Korea

North Korea will discuss denuclearization, US official says

North Korea will discuss denuclearization, US official says

Whether or not Kim had genuinely offered to discuss dismantling his nuclear program was a key question surrounding his offer to meet Trump, made in March and conveyed to the US via a South Korean envoy.

The North Koreans are pushing to have the meeting in their capital, Pyongyang, although it is unclear whether the White House would be willing to hold the talks there.

South Korean officials had told Donald Trump that Mr Kim was willing to meet him to discuss de-nuclearisation, but the administration comments on Sunday mark the first time the U.S. has officially confirmed the information with North Korea itself.

Quoting various US officials, the report said a team at the Central Intelligence Agency, led by its Director Mike Pompeo, has been working through back-channels to make arrangements for the high-profile talks. There was no immediate word on the possible venue for the talks, which would be the first ever between a sitting USA president and North Korean leader. US officials are apparently shooting for late May or possibly June. "It's a good signal that the talks are going back and forth (between the USA and North Korea)".

The talks were laying the groundwork for a meeting between Pompeo and his North Korea counterpart, the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, in advance of the leaders' summit.

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The North has said it is willing to hold "candid" talks with the United States to bring about denuclearisation of the peninsula and normalise ties, although Mr Trump has called for more concrete steps toward denuclearisation before the meeting takes place.

However, increased exercise was seen by satellite at a North Korean nuclear website in February, pics of which imply the North has begun preliminary testing of a newfound light water reactor and possibly attracted still another reactor online at its Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center.

Mr Trump is set to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago in late April, with the North Korea negotiations at the top of their agenda.

CNN reports that Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is also being considered as a potential meeting place.

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