Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Michael Hayden is reported to have told South Korean officials that Washington does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear state.
South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper says Hayden made those remarks on Tuesday during a meeting with South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo. The newspaper says that according to Hayden, Washington does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear state because its nuclear test last October was a failure.
South Korean defense ministry officials confirmed that Hayden met with Kim on Tuesday, but were unwilling to comment on what was discussed.
Security sources had previously said that the talks would focus largely on intelligence-sharing and North Korea's nuclear activities.
North Korea is currently involved in nuclear disarmament talks with South Korea, the United States and three other countries.
Last month, Pyongyang reached a landmark nuclear deal agreeing to shut down its main nuclear facility, disclose all of its nuclear programs, and allow the return of international inspectors.
In return, North Korea will receive energy aid and diplomatic incentives.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.