President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un are one step closer to meeting for discussions of denuclearization in the isolated nation.

North Korean officials themselves have formally announced that the regime is prepared to begin negotiations with the U.S., and are currently working on establishing a meeting date.

The Associated Press reports the following:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea’s government has communicated with the United States to say that leader Kim Jong Un is ready to discuss his nuclear weapons program with President Donald Trump, officials said Sunday, increasing the likelihood that the unprecedented summit will actually occur.

The confirmation from Pyongyang directly, rather than from third countries like South Korea, has created more confidence within Trump’s administration about the wisdom of holding such a meeting, as U.S. officials make secretive preparations. The Trump administration has long said that if the North Koreans weren’t ready to discuss giving up their nuclear program, there was no reason for the two countries to hold negotiations.

Trump took his own administration and other countries by surprise last month when he accepted an unusual offer from Kim to hold a meeting. The North had conveyed the invitation to a visiting delegation from South Korea, which in turn traveled to Washington and relayed the message to Trump.

The president said yes to the meeting on the spot, even though the U.S. had not yet heard directly from North Korea about Kim’s intentions. The U.S. later heard from other countries including China, where Kim paid a rare visit, that the North was serious about the offer.

Still, North Korea’s government has not said anything publicly at all about a meeting with Trump, and the lack of known contact between Pyongyang and Washington about the meeting has fueled further speculation about the seriousness of Kim’s offer.”

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