USA confirms NK willingness to discuss denuclearization

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Ahead of potential talks between the United States and North Korea, the US has confirmed for the first time that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, according to an administration official.

Last month, China said it won a pledge from Kim, who was on a surprise visit to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

A combination photo shows a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) handout of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un released on May 10, 2016, and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump posing for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016.

China, North Korea's only major ally and main economic lifeline, has been calling for a "dual suspension" of North Korean nuclear and missile activities in return for the United States and South Korea suspending their large-scale military exercises.

CNN quoted USA officials as saying that the summit will be held at the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar - a proposal that North Korea has already relayed to the U.S., according Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

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The talks between intelligence officials are laying the groundwork for a meeting between Pompeo and his North Korea counterpart, the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, in advance of the leaders' summit.

As recently as this weekend, Trump told associates he was looking forward to the summit, which he agreed to on the spot when presented the invitation from Kim.

China and Russian Federation are both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which has imposed sanctions on North Korea in a bid to force negotiations with Pyongyang.

North Korean officials were rumored to be floating its capital, Pyongyang, as a meeting ground, CNN reported. "What we will see next is the exchanges of presidential envoys between the U.S. and North Korea". A date will be set once the two sides can agree on a location.

The Koreas have to also decide how many times Kim and Moon would meet on April 27 and whether parts of the summit would be broadcast on live television.