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White House says no direct talks yet between Trump, DPRK's Kim

(Xinhua)    13:39, April 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The White House said on Tuesday that the U.S. government has had talks "at the highest levels" with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but there have been no talks yet between President Donald Trump and DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un.

The White House statement came minutes after Trump seemingly hinted that he has already talked with Kim.

When asked by reporters if he has spoken directly with Kim, Trump, during a photo-taking session at his Mar-a-Lago resort in the U.S. state of Florida, said "yes."

However, it was not clear if Trump was responding to the question, as many questions were being darted at the president, who was accompanying visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife.

"In regards to talks with leader Kim Jong Un: the president said the administration has had talks at the highest levels and added that they were not with him directly," said the White House statement issued after the confusing incident.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump himself also said that Washington and Pyongyang have already started direct talks at "very high levels," without specifying how "high" the level was.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has reportedly made a top-secret visit to the DPRK over Easter weekend as an envoy for Trump.

The trip made by Pompeo, who was also Trump's pick for the state secretary to replace Rex Tillerson, was an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between the leaders of the two countries, reported the Washington Post.

However, there is currently no official confirmation on Pompeo's visit.

Trump was expected to meet Kim in May or early June. The venue of the meeting has still to be decided, but Trump said on Tuesday that five sites are currently being weighed and none of them is located in the United States.

Tension on the Korean Peninsula has thawed in recent months. Seoul and Pyongyang have agreed to hold a summit on April 27, the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides in 11 years.

Abe was on a two-day working visit at Mar-a-Lago starting from Tuesday, during which he was supposed to discuss with Trump the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and bilateral trade, among other issues.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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