But the fact that the US 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. American and North Korean intelligence officials have spoken several times and have even met in a third country, with a focus on nailing down a location for the talks, CNN reported.
US OFFICIALS are in direct negotiations with representatives of North Korea for the first time ahead of an anticipated summit meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, according to a report Saturday, the New York Post reported.
Led by former Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo, who awaits confirmation for his appointment as a secretary of state, the U.S. intelligence officials have met with their North Korean counterparts several times in a third country to nail down a venue for the summit, USA officials told CNN.
Regarding scepticism in Washington on the possibility of the North dismantling its nukes, Adams said the North Korean leader has asserted his willingness to denuclearize and to refrain from additional nuclear and missile test, and that he understands South Korea-U.S. joint military drills will continue as scheduled.
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Analysts echoed that the efforts show that the United States intelligence agencies are taking the lead for summit preparations, but expressed skepticism whether such moves were headed by the North's Reconnaissance General Bureau, which deals with clandestine operations against South Korea. Officials said the current target is late May or even June.
South Korean envoys visited Washington last month to convey Kim's invitation to meet. North Korea had relayed that proposal to the USA, according Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.
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.
The Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar has also been raised as a possible location. A date will be set once the two sides can agree on a location.