US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, April 17, told the press that five venues were being considered for his proposed meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in late May or early June though he did not divulge details.
Trump, who spoke on the issue amid talks with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, also said that "very high levels" of communication were already underway between Washington and Pyongyang.
Addressing the media alongside Abe at the two-day summit in Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said there was a lot of goodwill.
North Korea is set to be the dominant theme at the Trump-Abe summit where the two leaders, facing enough trouble on their home fronts, are also expected to iron out differences over trade issues.
However, there was a bit of confusion over Trump's words as he appeared to say that he himself had a talk with Kim. The president cleared the air soon after saying it was not the case at the moment, CNN reported.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also confirmed later that the talks were not between Trump and Ab.
The US administration's confirmation on the talks indicated that everything was proceeding fine towards what could be considered the most awaited summit of the 21st century.
Though Trump did not confirm the location of the meeting, officials said a number of locations were under consideration, including Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar; a neutral European capital like Stockholm or Geneva; Jeju Island off the Korean Peninsula or a ship at sea; a country in Southeast Asia like Singapore or Malaysia; either Seoul or Pyongyang or a demilitarised zone between the two Koreas, CNN reported.
Abe not comfortable
Japanese officials indicated that Abe would raise his concerns over the Trump-Kim talks and sources in Washington said it would consider those concerns on a serious note.
Abe, however, said on Tuesday that he would like to "commend" Trump courage over his decision to meet the North Korean leader.
Abe's concern is Japan's falling isolated while other parties having stakes in a peaceful Korean Peninsula have engaged with each other of late. While Kim made a trip to China last month and met President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Kim at the two Koreas' summit to be held at a border village on April 27.
And this isolation has proved to be more a worry for Abe since the security of Japan is closely connected with a peaceful Korean Peninsula. Some of North Korea's intermediate-range missiles have ended up in the waters off Japan's coast and this is a big concern for Tokyo. Abe is eager to make it clear through Trump that these experiments need to stop.