China Hopes N. Korea Leader's Summits With Trump, Moon Will Defuse Tension

China Hopes N. Korea Leader's Summits With Trump, Moon Will Defuse Tension

The United States and North Korea are holding secret, direct talks ahead of the planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the media reported.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo and a team at the CIA have been working through intelligence back-channels to make preparations for the summit scheduled to be held in May, the officials told CNN late Saturday.

South Korean emissaries, in a visit to the White House last month, had presented Kim's invitation to meet with Trump, who quickly agreed.

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.

North Korean officials have told their USA counterparts that leader Kim Jong Un is open and ready to talk about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to The Wall Street Journal. US officials are apparently shooting for late May or possibly June.

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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. North Korea had relayed that proposal to the USA, according Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

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.

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. "What we will see next is the exchanges of presidential envoys between the U.S. and North Korea".

The Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar has also been raised as a possible location, the officials told CNN.

"The US has confirmed that Kim Jong-un is willing to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", an administration official said.

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