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According to CNN, the talks between the US and North Korean intelligence officials are aimed at preparing the ground for a meeting between US Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, who awaits Congressional confirmation for his appointment as a secretary of state, and the head of the North's Reconnaissance General Bureau, whose identity has not been confirmed. There was no immediate word on the possible venue for the talks, which would be the first ever between a sitting USA president and North Korean leader.

South Korea's presidential office said yesterday that while they can not confirm whether such secret talks have been taking place, it is certainly a "good sign" in paving the way for what would be the first summit between North Korea and the US.

"The US has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", an administration official said. USA officials are apparently shooting for late May or possibly June.

Nonpublic discussion of Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-Un is being conducted "at full pelt".

Mr Pompeo is now awaiting confirmation as secretary of state in the coming weeks. "If there were such talks, we think it's a positive move".

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.

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". "What we will see next is the exchanges of presidential envoys between the U.S. and North Korea".

The Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar has also been raised as a possible location.

According to the report, American officials are said to have spoken several times with their North Korean counterparts, and even met up with them up to three times to discuss preparations.

The confirmation offers the USA greater assurances that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is committed to a potential meeting with USA president Donald Trump by the end of next month.