Kim makes first official mention of US-N Korea talks
SEOUL – Agence France-Presse
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has acknowledged the prospect of talks with the U.S., state media reported on April 10, in his first official mention of dialogue with Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump.
Trump agreed last month to a landmark summit with the nuclear-armed North but with no specific dates or venue set, there had been questions over Pyongyang’s intention to participate.
On April 9, Kim discussed the “the prospect of the DPRK-U.S. dialogue” with party officials, the state KCNA news agency said, referring to the North by its official acronym.
He delivered a report “on the development of the recent situation on the Korean peninsula,” including the separate summit with South Korea to be held later this month, it said.
In a growing rapprochement on the Korean peninsula, Kim is scheduled to meet the South’s president Moon Jae-in for a rare inter-Korean summit on April 27.
Trump has also agreed to meet Kim to discuss denuclearization as soon as next month. The summit would be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
But the North remained publicly silent for weeks after its leader’s invitation to talks was first delivered to Trump by South Korean officials.
This fueled concerns in Washington that Seoul had overstated the North’s willingness to negotiate over its own nuclear arsenal, even as officials scrambled to prepare for the prospective meeting.
Kim’s remarks on April 9 break that public silence, although he did not specifically refer to a summit with Trump.
They follow media reports that North Korean officials have privately told their U.S. counterparts Kim is ready to discuss denuclearization.
Trump said April 9 he planned to meet Kim in “May or early June.”
“I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully there will be a deal on denuking,” he said.