SEOUL, Dec. 5 (UPI) — The United States and North Korean officials held a secret meeting at a North-South Korean border village to discuss holding a second summit between U.S. and North Korean leaders, South Korean media reported, citing high-ranking government officials in Seoul.
Suh Hoon, director of the National Intelligence Service, said at a parliamentary meeting Wednesday that South Korea’s NIS share information with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency on meetings between U.S. and North Korean officials, Yonhap News reported.
Another South Korean official said that Andrew Kim, head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, met his North Korean counterpart at a secret meeting at the border village of Panmunjom on Monday, Hankyoreh reported.
While little is known about what was discussed at the private meeting, the meeting signals a breakthrough in a months-long stalemate in denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea, according to a South Korean government source.
“There seems to be a progress between North Korea and the U.S.,” a South Korean official was quoted as saying in the Hankyoreh report.
U.S. officials discussed a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with North Korean officials, including Kim Song-hye, one of the key senior North Korean officials involved in denuclearization negotiations, for two hours on Monday, according to Chosun Ilbo.
The report said that the officials discussed holding a second summit but failed to arrange a next high-ranking meeting.
Trump said earlier that a second summit with Kim will likely take place in January or February. The first summit took place in June in Singapore.
South Korea’s intelligence chief Suh also said that North Korean leader Kim is not likely to visit Seoul around Dec. 18-20, dates widely speculated by South Korean media for Kim’s visit to the South Korean capital.
“Kim Jong Il died on Dec. 17 and it’s unlikely that Kim would visit from Dec. 18-20,” he said to lawmakers, according to Yonhap News.
Former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack on Dec. 17 in 2011. North Korea has marked the anniversary of his death each year.