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U.S. and North Korea plan to hold high-level talks in Washington this week

Seoul. The United States and North Korea plan to hold high-level talks in Washington this week to discuss a second summit of their leaders, following a prolonged stalemate in nuclear talks, a South Korean newspaper said on Tuesday.

The meeting, led by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, would happen on Thursday or Friday, the Chosun Ilbo said, citing an unnamed diplomatic source familiar with the talks.

Both sides are expected to finalise the date and location of a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the North’s envoy is likely to meet Trump, the paper said.

There was no immediate comment from the White House. Asked about the report, a State Department official said, “We don’t have any meetings to announce.”

If confirmed, this week’s meeting could mean the two sides are nearing a compromise after a months-long standoff over how to move forward in ending North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Pompeo, who made several trips to Pyongyang last year, sought to meet his counterpart last November, but the talks were called off at the last minute.

Contact was resumed after Kim’s New Year’s speech, in which he said he was willing to meet Trump “at any time,” South Korea’s ambassador to the United States, Cho Yoon-je, told reporters last week.

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