Trump Says Next Meeting With North Korea’s Kim Likely in Early 2019

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
December 2, 2018US News

President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is likely to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in January or February and that three sites for their second meeting are under consideration.

“We’re getting along very well,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his return from a G20 summit in Argentina. “We have a good relationship.”

Trump added that at some point he will invite Kim to the United States.

The two sides have been engaged in talks on the leaders’ second meeting after the first, unprecedented, one in Singapore in June, Reuters reported in October, citing a senior official.

Complete and Verifiable Denuclearization

Trump has promised Kim a prosperous future for North Korea should he abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In his communication on the issue, the president has largely maintained an upbeat tone about the prospects for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump wrote on Twitter back in July.

The United States is seeking “complete, irreversible, and verifiable” denuclearization. But until this goal is achieved, Washington is committed to maintaining sanctions on the communist regime.

Disarmament Plan

Last month, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump would push for a concrete plan outlining Pyongyang’s steps to end its arms programs.

Pence told NBC News last month the United States would not require Pyongyang to provide a complete list of nuclear weapons and locations before the second summit, but that the meeting must produce a concrete plan.

“I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons,” Pence said.

Pence said last month it was essential that international sanctions pressure be maintained on North Korea until its complete denuclearization was achieved.

North Korean ‘Problem’

Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis, cited by Lara Seligman, Foreign Policy’s Pentagon correspondent, was asked which country poses the most serious security threat. Mattis said, “in terms of URGENCY, North Korea is the problem,” Seligman wrote on Twitter.

U.S. officials have so far been unsuccessful in persuading North Korea to detail the extent of its nuclear arsenal.

Insufficient progress on denuclearization was cited as a reason for the cancellation of a planned visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo towards the end of August.

“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump stated Aug. 24.

“Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved,” Trump added.

Negotiations at an ‘Impasse’

Asia expert Su Mi Terry, senior fellow and Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said at the Defense One Summit in Washington on Nov. 15, that talks on denuclearization seem to have stalled.

According to an earlier report, Terry said that aside from the joint “aspirational statement” of Trump and Kim in June, the negotiations had reached an “impasse.”

Terry believes that despite its periodic threats to resume testing of missiles and other nuclear program-related tests, “North Korea thinks that it can get the best possible deal with President Trump,” and therefore probably won’t relinquish its program, but also won’t resume testing or other provocative activities.

Trump and Kim met in person during a historic summit in Singapore in June. The two leaders signed a joint statement agreeing to work toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, a new era for relations between Washington and Pyongyang, and the complete denuclearization of North Korea.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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