US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, meeting at the DMZ earlier this year, say they have a ‘special” relationship. [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

North Korea‘s leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump have a “special” relationship, a top Pyongyang official said on Thursday, echoing remarks made this week by Trump himself. 

Analysts said the comments were an indication Pyongyang still hoped to reach a deal directly with Trump over its nuclear programmes, despite Washington’s long-standing insistence the country give up its weapons before sanctions are lifted.

In a statement carried by North Korea‘s official news agency KCNA, foreign ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan said he had met the country’s leader “a few days ago” and that

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