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09 April 2018, 12:50 | Simon Arnold
US, N Korea Hold Talks Via CIA Channels Ahead of Trump-Kim Meeting - Reports
North Korea has told the United States for the first time it is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula when Kim Jong-un meets Donald Trump, a United States official said on Sunday.
According to CNN, the talks between the U.S. and North Korea's intelligence officials are aimed at laying the ground for a meeting between Pompeo and the head of the North's Reconnaissance General Bureau, whose identity has not been confirmed.
Quoting various US officials, the report said a team at the Central Intelligence Agency, led by its Director Mike Pompeo, has been working through back-channels to make arrangements for the high-profile talks.
Both sides have met several times in a third country to determine a location for the historic summit, USA officials told CNN.
USA and North Korean officials have reportedly been trying to nail down a location for the summit, with the North Koreans pushing for Pyongyang and the Americans calling for a more neutral location, like Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.
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.
Some analysts have said Trump's willingness to meet Kim handed North Korea a diplomatic win, as the United States had insisted for years that any such summit be preceded by North Korean steps to denuclearize.
They said: "We caution the public to understand that North Korea views its nuclear programme to be sacrosanct and will likely not give it up, no matter what they say during any negotiations".
She added, "But we're going into this very cautiously, very much knowing that he's looked at the Iran deal, he's seen what he can get and he's seen how he can push through loopholes, and we're not going to let that happen again".
CNN cited sources saying that Ulan Bator in Mongolia has been suggested as a possible neutral location for the meeting, although the North Koreans have been pushing to hold the talks in their capital, Pyongyang.
The meeting on Saturday (April 7) at the North Korean side of the border village of Panmunjom was attended by three working-level officials from the South and their three to four counterparts from the North, according to Seoul officials.
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