Trump Kim jong un
The US and North Korean intelligence officers have been engaged in secret talks and held a number of meetings since 2009, paving the way for a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un last year, The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported, citing US officials.

The "goon channel" was initially established by Washington to discuss the release of US citizens held in North Korea, but soon has started to touch upon plans for Pyongyang's denuclearization as well as the preparation for the leaders' summit, officials from the current and former US administration under US President Barack Obama told the newspaper.

In 2012, then-Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Michael Morell paid a visit to North Korea, later, former Deputy National Security Adviser Avril Haines also visited Pyongyang, according to the newspaper.

"It has been the only reliable channel of communications for the most basic of issues ... That is where the North Koreans have been comfortable," a senior official from the Trump administration told The Wall Street Journal.

Both the US and North Korean officials have declined to comment on the issue.

The first meeting between Trump and Kim took place in June in Singapore. At the landmark talks, the two sides expressed their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump would hold his second summit with Kim in the end of February.