North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave his firmest indication yet Tuesday that he will honor an agreement to meet his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.
The North’s state-run media reported Kim discussing the planned summit for the first time, even though it was announced weeks ago – and he apparently openly addressed the matter while on a trip to China last month.
While speculation has intensified over whether a location will even be agreed for the inaugural summit between the two leaders, Trump told a Cabinet meeting Monday that the meeting will take place “sometime in May or early June.”
Hours later, Kim was cited by Pyongyang’s KCNA news agency as having “made a profound analysis and appraisal of the orientation of the development of the north-south relations at present and the prospect of” U.S.-North Korean dialogue.
In this case, “north-south” refers to the two Koreas ahead of a scheduled inter-Korean summit on April 27.
The very mention by Kim of these issues so publicly within his homeland has raised hopes that the breakthrough meetings will go ahead after years of regional tensions and aggressive rhetoric.
Analysts will also be watching closely for any further comments when North Korea convenes its annual rubber-stamp parliament this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a North Korean diplomat was quoted by South Korean news agency Yonhap Tuesday stating that the reclusive state’s denuclearization “can be resolved with phases, synchronized measures.”
The envoy, who reportedly asked not to be named, attended a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Azerbaijan last week, a meeting also attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.