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N. Korea ready to discuss denuclearization with US: report

AFP  |  Washington 

North Korean officials have told their US counterparts that is ready to discuss denuclearisation, an assurance that could pave the way for a planned meeting with Donald Trump, reports said.

It is the first time has made the offer of a summit directly to Washington, after its invitation was previously conveyed through a South Korean

"The US has confirmed that is willing to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," a told and Post yesterday.

stunned observers when it announced last month it had agreed to a historic first meeting between Trump and Kim, to be held by the end of May.

The North's offer to meet was delivered to the by South Korea's Chung Eui-yong, who had met Kim during a visit to days earlier.

But has failed to publicly confirm the offer since, beyond a commentary from its state-run agency noting the "dramatic atmosphere for reconciliation" with the South and "a sign of change" with the US.

This silence had made US officials nervous that had overstated the North's willingness to negotiate over its own nuclear arsenal, reported.

Many remain skeptical about whether the planned summit can succeed.

It is scheduled to take place without the months of groundwork that usually precedes such meetings.

reported on Saturday that secret, direct talks paving the way for the summit were under way between North Korean and officials, citing anonymous sources.

But no specifics have yet emerged concerning the date or venue of the proposed summit, with a third country such as or under consideration to host the talks, according to multiple reports.

Beyond that, a detailed agenda for the talks will need to be set.

Washington's long-held stance is that it will not accept a nuclear-armed That means it wants to see "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" denuclearisation -- a very high bar.

The North has previously demanded the withdrawal of US troops based in the South and the end of the security alliance between and -- an extraordinary concession that it is hard to imagine any previous US acceding to.

today welcomed the reported offer by the North to discuss denuclearization.

"We are not a directly concerned party since it is something that is taking place between the US and North Korea, but if the reports are true, we view it positively and welcome it," said Nam Sang-kyu, a at the South's presidential office.

The South will host its own summit later this month between Kim and the South's Moon Jae-in.

Last week, the two Koreas held a working-level meeting aimed at ironing out and other logistics ahead of the rare inter-Korean summit, due to take place on April 27.

A different group of officials from the two sides met on Saturday to discuss setting up a direct hotline between the offices of the leaders of North and

Details of the talks were not released but officials from both sides agreed to further meetings on the topic later this week, a for the South's unification ministry said today.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 09 2018. 16:35 IST