North Korean President Kim Il-sung received a high-powered private U.S. delegation Monday, including three former senior State Department officials, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The group, representing the American Freedom Coalition, includes former Assistant Secretary of State Douglas MacArthur, son of the late Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led United Nations forces against the North in the 1959-53 Korean War.It also included former U.S. Congressman Richard Ichord and two other former senior State Department officials.

President Kim, who turned 80 in April, conversed with the guests "in a cordial and friendly atmosphere" and arranged a lunch for them, KCNA, monitored here, said without giving details of their dialogue.

The U.S. delegation is visiting Pyongyang at a time when prospects appear brighter for a reconciliation between the two long-hostile nations than at any time in four decades.