US Said to Confirm North Korean Offer to Talk Denuclearization

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USA and North Korean officials have reportedly been hashing out terms of the agreement through back channels led by CIA Director Mike Pompeo - Trump's nominee to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Read alsoChina says North Korea pledges denuclearization during friendly visit - mediaCentral Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo and a team at the CIA have been working through intelligence back-channels to make preparations for the summit, the officials said.

The current target is late May or June, CNN quoted officials as saying.

Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, is another possible place to hold the meeting.

Analysts echoed that the efforts show that the USA 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.

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.

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Mr Pompeo is now awaiting confirmation as secretary of state in the coming weeks.

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.

"The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula‎", said a second U.S. official.

North Korea was "suffocating" under global sanctions, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Thursday, adding, "They need an out".

North and South Korean officials are meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss setting up a hotline between the leaders of their countries.

Led by former Reconnaissance General Bureau chief Kim Yong-chul, United Front Department has been managing inter-Korean dialogue and North Korea's policy toward the South, including propaganda to the pro-North Korean groups in South Korea.