Trump says meeting with DPRK's top leader Kim likely early next year

North Korea subject of talks between Sth Korean President and PM Jacinda Ardern in Auckland

Kim sharply raised tensions with nuclear and missile tests last year, but suddenly reached out to South Korea and the United States this year with a vague nuclear disarmament pledge.

North Korea has sought security guarantees from the USA and relief from global sanctions.

Trump said he had a "good relationship" with the North Korean leader and stressed that the negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula had only been going on six to seven months.

A visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Seoul before the end of the year remains possible, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reiterated to press on Tuesday.

"The message is that President Trump has very favourable views towards Chairman Kim and he likes him", Mr Moon told reporters aboard a flight from Argentina to New Zealand, where he started a three-day state visit on Sunday. Moon made the comments to reporters on the final day of a visit to New Zealand.

Trump said on Saturday that he hoped to organise a second summit with Kim in early 2019.

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After sharply raising tensions with nuclear and missile tests a year ago, Kim abruptly reached out to Moon and Trump with a vague nuclear disarmament pledge.

New Zealand has been working with the United States to help small Pacific nations audit and strengthen their shipping registers to avoid vessels with ties to North Korea using their flags to skirt sanctions.

"I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons", Pence said in an interview with NBC.

Earlier on Friday, while meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, Trump discussed his intention to hold a second U.S. -DPRK summit, and restated with Moon a common commitment to work closely together on making it happen.

Moon said that Seoul shares the same stance as Wellington in rejecting protectionism and defending free trade.

He said he hopes to take a two-track approach with Tokyo on North Korea, . something he says Japanese government will agree on. But both Moon and Trump say fears of war on the Korean Peninsula have eased sharply.

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