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On a phone call Friday with Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he hoped the USA and North Korea would start dialogue as soon as possible and strive for positive results, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said.

By mid-afternoon Friday, North Korea had yet to respond to Trump's agreement to hold a summit, and the usually bombastic North Korean propaganda outlets remained silent.

Trump welcomed the move as "very positive", though Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. position towards North Korea would not change "until we see credible, verifiable, and concrete steps toward denuclearization".

President Donald Trump accepting a reported offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a stunning turn of events after a year of heated verbal warfare that included crude insults and mutual threats of nuclear attacks.

But tension eased around last month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, laying the groundwork for what would be the first meeting between leaders from North Korea and the United States, and the biggest foreign policy gamble for Trump since he took office in January previous year.

"The President will not have the meeting without have concrete steps or seeing concrete actions taken by North Korea", she said.

January 1, 2017: Kim Jong Un says in a New Year's address that preparations for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile have "reached the final stage".

Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, first made the announcement at the White House on Thursday evening, later confirmed by Trump in a social media post.

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He also took credit for the recent rapprochement between the rival Koreas, as well as the United States, saying that without his "rhetoric and tough stance. they wouldn't be talking".

South Korean officials who announced Mr. Trump had accepted the request for direct talks said the summit would take place before May.

He also sought to draw a line between talks and negotiations, saying: "With respect to talks with North Korea versus negotiations - and I think this seems to be something that people continue to struggle with the difference - my comments have been that the conditions are not right for negotiations".

"It essentially provides him equal status with the United States president and strengthens his bid to have North Korea be recognized as a de facto nuclear power", said Evan Medeiros, of the Eurasia Group think tank, and a former Asia advisor to Barack Obama.

USA -based experts say North Korea appeared to show last November that it has succeeded in developing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon anywhere in the United States.

There are many details to be ironed out before any Trump-Kim meeting could take place, not least the location.

"Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached", Trump said.

The talks will take some weeks to arrange, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.


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