US official says North Korean leader ready to discuss nukes

US official says North Korean leader ready to discuss nukes
FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo, a man watches a TV screen showing file footages of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. A Trump administration official said Sunday, April 8, that the United States has now "confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." The official wasn't authorized to be quoted by name and demanded anonymity. The meeting could occur as early as May. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

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.