North Korea will discuss denuclearization, USA official says

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The prospective summit, which would be an historical first, is likely to take place within weeks - in late May or in June, the officials said.

"For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility".

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. But Pyongyang has affirmed Kim's willingness to put the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula on the table, the sources said. 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. "If there were such talks, we think it's a positive move".

South Korean envoys visited Washington last month to convey Kim's invitation to meet.

She said the U.S.is deeply concerned about the state of North Korean citizens' well-being.

Analysts echoed that the efforts show that the U.S. 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.

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"It's a natural step in the right direction".

According to the officials, the North Koreans are pushing to hold the meeting in Pyongyang, although it was unclear whether the White House would be willing.

Officials said a date for the summit will be set, after a location is agreed upon.

The United States responded by frequently sending its strategic assets such as long-range bombers and aircraft carriers to the region in a show of force and floating talks of military options against North Korea.

Later this month (April), Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In are to hold what would be the three inter-Korean summit.

The working-level talks began on Saturday morning at a facility on the North side.

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