North Korea will discuss denuclearization, U.S. official says

Hannah Rogers
April 9, 2018

North Korea has said it is willing to discuss de-nuclearisation with the U.S., a Trump administration official said on Sunday, increasing the chances of an unprecedented summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the United States president.

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.

South Korea's presidential office said that the country's defense and foreign ministers and some other senior officials visited Panmunjom together on Friday.

CNN cited sources saying that Ulan Bator in Mongolia has been suggested as a possible neutral location for the meeting, although the North Koreans have been pushing to hold the talks in their capital, Pyongyang.

The CIA has been using intelligence channels while the State Department has been in contact with North Korea by way of the North Korean mission to the United Nations in NY.

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, who awaits Congressional confirmation for his appointment as a secretary of state.

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The timeline for the Trump-Kim summit remains unknown although the South Korean side have said that it would take place next month. "It's a good signal that the talks are going back and forth (between the U.S. and North Korea)".

Trump informed about the preparations to the meeting with the leader of the North Korea on March 9.

The US, which has maintained back-channel lines of communication with North Korean officials, has accelerated efforts to prepare a summit in earnest since Mr Trump unexpectedly agreed to meet Mr Kim.

Washington stunned observers when it announced last month it had agreed to a historic first meeting between Trump and Kim to be held by the end of May.

According to the report, American officials are said to have spoken several times with their North Korean counterparts, and even met up with them up to three times to discuss preparations.

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