A senior U.S. State Department official has expressed hope for a potential visit to South Korea by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un while stressing the North's denuclearization.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea and Japan Marc Knapper told a year-end gathering in Washington Wednesday many positive developments have taken place this year, including the successful PyeongChang Winter Olympics, three inter-Korean summits, and the North Korea-U.S. summit.

He also held out hope for a second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and also for Kim's visit to Seoul. 

He said the U.S. sincerely hopes for a brighter future for Pyongyang but that the only path to that future is through denuclearization.

[Photo : YONHAP News]