Trump says summit will be soon
Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from Argentina for the G-20 summit that he will invite Kim to the United States “at some point,” according to Reuters.
“We’re getting along very well,” said Trump, referring to the North Korean leader. “We have a good relationship.”
Trump and Kim held their historic first summit on June 12 at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore, a venue chosen after reviewing factors such as logistics and security. The two leaders ended up staying in different hotels in downtown Singapore and commuted to Sentosa Island by car on the day of the summit.
On Oct. 9, Trump said that “three or four different locations” are being considered for a second North-U.S. summit in a press conference beside U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who announced that she will step down from the post at the end of the year. Trump also said he expected a summit with Kim would happen after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Some of the locations that could be considered for a possible second summit include neutral European nations such as Sweden and Switzerland. Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul, following South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s summit with Kim in September, was initially expected to take place this year. If it is delayed until next year, another possibility is a meeting between Trump, Kim and Moon in Seoul. However, there is a low likelihood of this for now.
During the G-20 leaders’ summit in Buenos Aires, Trump held bilateral talks with key regional players on the North Korea issue, including Moon, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Trump and Xi discussed North Korea during their working dinner in Buenos Aires Saturday. In a press release, the White House said that the two leaders “agreed that great progress has been made with respect to North Korea” and that Trump, together with Xi and Kim, will strive “to see a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
Trump reportedly “expressed his friendship and respect for Chairman Kim” during this meeting with Xi.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Saturday that he expects a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to take place after Jan. 1 next year.
“I hope it’ll happen pretty soon,” said Pompeo in an interview with CNN. “We’re working hard at it. I think it’ll happen shortly after the first of the year. But I don’t have any additional information to share with you this morning.”
Pompeo has yet to hold high-level talks with his North Korean counterpart that could further cement details on a second summit, including a date, location and agenda. He was initially scheduled to meet with Kim Yong-chol, the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, on Nov. 8 in New York. The meeting was canceled last minute, and despite expectations that it could be rescheduled for later that month, Pyongyang has so far been unresponsive.
With the delay in high-level talks in New York, and working-level talks also stalled, observers have pointed out Pompeo may end up making a fifth trip to Pyongyang instead to plan for a second summit as early as next month.
Pompeo told CNN, “We continue to have conversations about the right next step - that is the right substantive next step - not the process next step of meetings.”
Pompeo once again referred to “global sanctions put in place by the United Nations Security Council which denied North Korea the capacity to improve their economy” and said “that’s not going to change.” He pointed to South Korea and Japan as a few of Washington’s partners across the world that it is working with on the issue.
Pompeo also said that Washington will not pay North Korea to denuclearize and will adhere to its stance that sanction relief won’t happen before complete denuclearization.
“Unlike previous administrations that, when it got to a point that became difficult, wrote checks for tens and hundreds of millions of dollars and let the North Koreans off the hook in that sense, we’re determined to fulfill the commitments that were made by Chairman Kim in Singapore, and we’re working hard at it,” he said.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]