US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is about to hold high-level talks in Washington D.C. with North Korean senior official Kim Yong Chol on Thursday or Friday, and both sides are fine-tuning details, a South Korean newspaper said.
The North Korean official is likely to meet President Donald Trump as well, the Chosun Ilbo said on Tuesday, citing an unnamed diplomatic source familiar with the talks between the United States and North Korea.
Asked about the South Korean newspaper report, a State Department official said, “We don’t have any meetings to announce.” The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The United States is considering partially easing sanctions on North Korea in exchange for the isolated nation discarding, or sending abroad, its ICBMs, in addition to the adoption of a “nuclear freeze,” the U.S. talks with the South Korean government have shown, the Chosun Ilbo said, citing the source.
“If North Korea accepts, it’s a realizable scenario,” it quoted the source as saying.
South Korea’s presidential office directed questions to the foreign ministry, which did not have immediate comment.
This month, Trump said he had received a “great” letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and would probably meet him again in the not-too-distant future, as part of efforts to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons.
Pompeo made several trips to Pyongyang last year, but the two sides have not rescheduled an abruptly cancelled November meeting between him and Kim Yong Chol that aimed at paving the way for a second summit.