May 9, 2018 / 2:46 PM / in 6 months

Mattis: Reason for some optimism on U.S.-North Korea talks

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on funding for the Department of Defense, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis offered an upbeat assessment of prospects for U.S. negotiations with North Korea, suggesting he saw grounds for optimism on Wednesday as Pyongyang released three American detainees to America’s top diplomat.

“I think there is reason for some optimism that these talks could be fruitful,” Mattis said, referring to an unprecedented summit being planned for President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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