Vastavam web: North Korea has told the United States for the first time that it is prepared to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets President Donald Trump, a U.S. official said on Sunday.U.S. and North Korean officials have held secret contacts recently in which Pyongyang directly confirmed its willingness to hold the unprecedented summit, the official told, speaking on condition of anonymity.
South Korean envoys visited Washington last month to convey Kim’s invitation to meet. 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.But North Korea has not broken its public silence on the summit, which U.S. officials say is being planned for May. There was no immediate word on the possible venue for the talks, which would be the first ever between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader.
“The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula?,” said a second U.S. official.South Korea’s presidential Blue House welcomed the communication between North Korea and the United States, with one official saying the development was “positive”.“We are aware contact between North Korea and the United States is going well,” said another Blue House official on condition of anonymity.On Monday, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton is due to begin his role as Trump’s national security adviser, while on Thursday Senate confirmation hearings begin for Mike Pompeo, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state. Both have taken hawkish stances on North Korea.
The second South Korean official said the South’s National Security Office head, Chung Eui-yong, could speak with Bolton over the telephone as early as Tuesday.North Korea has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
Some analysts have said Trump’s willingness to meet Kim handed North Korea a diplomatic win, as the United States had insisted for years that any such summit be preceded by North Korean steps to denuclearize.Tension over North Korea’s tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile surged last year and raised fears of U.S. military action against Pyongyang.North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade towards the end of April.
The two Koreas have been holding working talks since March to work out details of the summit, like the agenda and security for the two leaders.