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

09 April, 2018, 01:25 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Report: US Talks Secretly With North Korea Ahead Of Trump's Meeting With Kim Jong Un

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.

North Korea has told the USA for the first time it is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula when Kim Jong-un meets Donald Trump, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

CNN reported that North Korea wants to have the meeting in its capital, Pyongyang, and that preparations are under way for a possible meeting between Pompeo and the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's intelligence agency.

CNN quoted USA officials as saying that the summit will be held in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

They include the president's chief of staff Im Jong-seok and National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong, who recently visited North Korea as Moon's special envoy.

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The proposed meeting has been read as a sign of easing tensions, but it is not clear what will emerge from a meeting between the two leaders.

North Korea has been under heavy UN Security Council sanctions since it staged a series of nuclear tests and missile launches in defiance of worldwide pressure to abandon its atomic programme. Pompeo, whose confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set for April 12, was chosen after Trump fired Rex Tillerson as his top diplomat.

South Korea had conveyed a message from Kim indicating his willingness to pause his nuclear program during talks, but the USA had not previously confirmed Kim's intentions directly from North Korea.

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.

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. But Pyongyang has affirmed Kim's willingness to put the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula on the table, the sources said. North Korea had relayed that proposal to the United States, according Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

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