Ahead of potential talks between the United States and North Korea, the US has confirmed for the first time that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, according to an administration official.
Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo and the CIA team have been operating through intelligence back-channels to make arrangements for the summit, the CNN news channel reported.
But the fact that the USA has confirmed North Korea's willingness to even discuss denuclearization is a positive step toward the Trump-Kim meeting actually taking place, and suggests they are communicating directly in preparation for it.
Since then, the North Korean leader has reaffirmed his commitment to discussing denuclearization as well as his willingness to hold summit talks with the South Korean and USA presidents.
"While the press has reported that North Korea is willing to negotiate their nuclear programme, this is not exactly what North Korea said".
Officials said a date for the summit will be set, after a location is agreed upon. South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to meet with Kim at the end of April in the demilitarized zone between the North and South. There was no immediate word on the possible venue for the talks, which would be the first ever between a sitting US president and North Korean leader.
Last week, Trump told associates that he was looking forward to the summit, which he agreed to on the spot when presented the invitation from Kim.
"The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", said a second U.S. official.
She said the U.S.is deeply concerned about the state of North Korean citizens' well-being.
White House officials have not said where the Trump-Kim summit will be held.
The North Koreans want the meeting to take place in their capital, Pyongyang.
The working-level talks began on Saturday morning at a facility on the North side.
The United States responded by frequently sending its strategic assets such as long-range bombers and aircraft carriers to the region in a show of force and floating talks of military options against North Korea.
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