09 April, 2018
North Korean officials have told their United States counterparts that Kim Jong Un is ready to discuss denuclearization, an assurance that could pave the way for a meeting with President Donald Trump, reports said Sunday.
According to CNN, the talks between the USA and North Korea's intelligence officials are aimed at laying the ground for a meeting between Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, who awaits Congressional confirmation for his appointment as a secretary of state, and the head of the North's Reconnaissance General Bureau, whose identity has not been confirmed.
The confirmation offers the administration greater assurances that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is committed to a potential meeting with President Donald Trump by the end of next month.
USA and North Korean officials have reportedly been trying to nail down a location for the summit, with the North Koreans pushing for Pyongyang and the Americans calling for a more neutral location, like Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.
North Korea is reportedly pushing to hold the talks in its capital, Pyongyang, but it is unclear whether Trump is willing to travel to the city. Trump, who has exchanged bellicose threats with Kim in the past year, surprised the world by quickly agreeing to meet Kim to discuss the crisis over Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States.More news: Cuba Marks World Health Day with Great Achievements
As recently as this weekend, Trump told associates he was looking forward to the summit, which he agreed to on the spot when presented the invitation from Kim. That visit was Mr Kim's first outside North Korea since he took over the leadership following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011.
The working-level talks began on Saturday morning at a facility on the North side. Last month, a New York Times report said that the Central Intelligence Agency was taking the lead in preparing for the Trump-Kim summit.
But Pyongyang has not broken its public silence on the summit, which USA officials say is being planned for May. The Koreas have to also decide how many times Kim and Moon would meet on April 27 and whether parts of the summit would be broadcast on live television.
The North past year tested a purported thermonuclear warhead and three intercontinental ballistic missiles created to strike the continental United States.
North Korea was "suffocating" under global sanctions, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Thursday, adding, "They need an out".