Secret, direct talks underway between US, North Korea

Secret, direct talks underway between US, North Korea

"The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", a Trump administration official told the publication on Sunday.

CNN on Saturday quoted multiple government officials familiar with the discussions as saying that the talks are a sign that planning for the highly anticipated meeting is progressing.

Quoting various USA 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.

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.

Topping the agenda during the secret talks between the United States and North Korea was nailing down the location of the summit, with venues in a third country emerging as a strong candidate amid the skepticism about the meeting taking place either in Pyongyang or Washington.

Both sides have met several times in a third country to determine a location for the historic summit, U.S. officials told CNN.

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Trump and Kim are expected to meet in May. South Korea's National Intelligence Service Chief Suh Hoon has been in close contact with his USA and North Korean counterparts.

Talks between the two leaders are supposed to take place by May, but a time and place have yet to be decided.

Beyond dealing with the North Koreans through the channel that runs between the CIA and the Reconnaissance General Burea, Pompeo has also been in close touch with the director of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon, who was the individual who brokered Kim's invitation to Trump, the Times said.

But Pyongyang has not broken its public silence on the summit, which USA officials say is being planned for May.

Both Koreas held working-level talks over the weekend to discuss establishing a direct telephone link between their leaders and other communication issues ahead of the April 27 inter-Korean summit.

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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