Kim Jong Un has spoken publicly for the first time about his proposed upcoming talks with Donald Trump.
The North Korean leader gave a “profound analysis and appraisal” of the possible outcome of the historic summit to top officials of the country’s ruling party, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Mr Kim discussed the “prospect of the DPRK-US dialogue and set forth the strategic and tactical issues”, the agency added.
He also updated officials “on the development of the recent situation on the Korean peninsula”, KCNA said, referring to his talks with the South’s President Moon Jae-in, scheduled for later this month.
While the report did not specifically mention the planned summit or Mr Trump by name, it suggests the North Korean leader is serious about the talks, which the US President said on Monday could be held in late May or June.
The move continues the remarkable diplomatic offensive Kim has launched this year, including making his first overseas visit as leader – to China – as well as sending his sister to the Winter Olympics in South Korea and using that as a platform to set up talks with Seoul.
But by far the most surprising development has been his offer, made through South Korean officials, to meet with the US President, given the insults the pair have traded since Mr Trump entered the White House.
The reports make no mention of what will be on the table during the Kim-Trump summit, but officials in Seoul have suggested the North Korean leader would be prepared to discuss de-commissioning his nuclear arsenal, one of Washington’s longest-held demands.
Many doubt whether the North Korean leader is really prepared to do that, pointing out that Pyongyang is equally insistent that US forces be removed from South Korea, a move deemed unpalatable to Seoul.
Confirming he planned to meet Kim in “May or early June”, Mr Trump said: “I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully there will be a deal on denuking.”