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US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he planned to meet Democratic People"s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong-un next month or in early June and hoped the discussions would ultimately lead to an end to the DPRK"s nuclear weapons program.
"We"ll be meeting with them sometime in May or early June, and I think there"ll be great respect paid by both parties, and hopefully we"ll be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea," Trump told reporters at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting.
"They"ve said so. We"ve said so," Trump said. "Hopefully, it"ll be a relationship that"s much different than it"s been for many, many years."
Trump"s comments came just a few hours before North Korea mentioned talks with the United States and the Republic of Korea for the first time, as the DPRK"s state media said Kim chaired a party meeting on Monday in which he assessed future talks with Washington and his upcoming summit with the ROK on April 27.
"(Kim Jong-un) set forth the strategic and tactical issues to be maintained by the Workers" Party of Korea, including the future policy of international relations and the orientation corresponding to them," the DPRK"s central news agency said on Tuesday.
Any meeting between Kim and Trump would come after the two Koreas hold their first summit in more than a decade later this month.
Meanwhile, hundreds of foreigners joined in the annual Pyongyang marathon on Sunday as recent political tensions started to ease.
Approximately 400 foreign amateurs took part this year. They came from more than 40 countries and territories.
Disabled people were allowed to join for the first time. One wheelchair runner from Singapore and one blind DPRK runner competed.
This year"s marathon started in Kim Il-sung Stadium and wound past Pyongyang landmarks such as Kim Il-sung Square and Mirae Street, one of the DPRK capital"s recent redevelopment projects.
Thirteen foreign professional runners from African countries participated in the elite category of the race.
The men"s full marathon was won by DPRK runner Ri Kang-bom in 2 hours 12 minutes and 53 seconds.
The winner of the women"s full marathon was Kim Hye-gyong from the DPRK, who came in at 2 hours 27 minutes and 24 seconds, with her twin sister Kim Hye-song narrowly behind her.
The International Association of Athletic Federations recognized this year"s event as a Bronze Label Road Race.
It is also accredited by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.
Xinhua, Reuters and AP contributed to this story.