President Donald Trump said high-level talks with North Korea over its nuclear program have started. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
April 17 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the United States and North Korea have already had direct communications at "extremely high levels."
The president revealed the direct talks after a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. The direct communications with Pyongyang happened ahead of a planned meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this summer.
"We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels with North Korea," Trump told reporters.
The president said he's looking forward to meeting with Kim, adding that there's mutual respect between the two governments.
Trump said the site for the summer meeting has not been selected, but there are five locations under consideration. None of the locations is in the United States.
"I really believe there's a lot of good will. We'll see what happens, as I always say. Because ultimately it's the end result that counts," he said.
Abe praised Trump's pressure on North Korea and its nuclear program, saying it's what's led to direct talks with the isolated country.
"I look forward to having a thorough discussion on the issue of North Korea, including both nuclear as well as missile issues, and also the abductions issue, which is a priority issue for Japan," Abe said.
Abe arrived in Florida on Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled to have three bilateral meetings with Trump over the course of two days. He was expected to return to Japan on Thursday.