Kim Jong-un makes first official mention of USA talks

Kim Yong-chol, the ex-head of national intelligence for North Korea, was said to be left terrified by how his leader might respond, with the young dictator said to be infamous among his staff for his short temper.

U.S. President Donald Trump agreed last month to a landmark summit with the nuclear-armed North but with no specific dates or venue set, there have been questions over Pyongyang's intention to participate.

Kim's regime stepped up its weapons programs, sending intercontinental ballistic missiles sailing over Japan and detonating a nuclear device.

There was no immediate word on the possible venue for the talks, which would be the first ever between a sitting U.S. President and North Korean leader. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that the North has confirmed the offer to the United States.

Kim's remarks on Monday break that public silence, although he did not specifically refer to a summit with Trump. "But it would have been a lot easier if it were done five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago", Trump said.

"We'll be meeting with them sometime in May or early June", Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

At Pyongyang metro stations Tuesday, commuters crowded around newspaper stands displaying the pages of the Rodong Sinmun, the official organ of the ruling Workers' Party, to read the news.

Kim In-kyung has this report.

According to the report, Kim chaired a party meeting where he analyzed the future outcome of dialogue with the United States and development of inter-Korean relations ahead of a summit with South Korea on April 27.

Instead, he might ask for other concessions, perhaps a reduction in the American military presence on the peninsula, said Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Dongkuk University and one of Moon's advisers. South Korea has recently acted as an intermediary for the two rival administrations, though it has praised recent direct contact as positive.

Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in late March, Kim was quoted as saying that he's willing to achieve peace and stability in the region through phased and synchronized steps toward denuclearization.

Any meeting between Kim and Trump would come after the two Koreas hold their first summit in more than a decade later this month. The formal meeting might take place by the end of next month that is in May.

  • Joey Payne