South Korean envoy advises Kim Jong Un to 'stop smoking'

M - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has publicly acknowledged talks with the USA for the first time, BBCreported citing state media reports.

The North had remained publicly silent for weeks after its leader's invitation to talks was first delivered to Trump by South Korean officials.

Kim Yong-chol, the ex-head of national intelligence for North Korea, was said to be left terrified by how his leader might respond, with the young dictator said to be infamous among his staff for his short temper.

The US has already made it clear they will only be willing to hold talks with the Kim regime if they agreed to nuclear disarmament. "But it would have been a lot easier if it were done five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago", he said.

President Donald Trump says he expects to meet with North Korea on its nuclear program in May or June.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official organ of the ruling Workers' Party, filled its front page with KCNA's report, along with pictures of Kim chairing the Politburo meeting.

Either way, "denuclearization", in the sense that Kim means it, does not equate to what the United States has long sought on the Peninsula: the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

"I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully there will be a deal on denuking", he told reporters at the White House.

"The surest way for the summit to end in disaster is if President Trump enters with the false belief that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula means Kim Jong Un unilaterally surrendering his nuclear weapons", Narang said. The unprecedented meeting was arranged through a group of South Korean envoys who met with Kim in Pyongyang last month.

In South Korea, meanwhile, there are growing signs that Moon Jae-in's government is about to enter its own summit with Kim Jong-un - the third inter-Korean summit later this month - with a different set of assumptions.

News of the possible thawing of tensions come after experts warned talks could have "unimaginable" results should Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un fail to resolve their nuclear tension.

  • Jon Douglas