US President Donald Trump said he will meet Kim Jong-un for a second time in the “not-too-distant future” after the North Korean leader showed signs of wanting to reach a deal that would end his nuclear program.
“We’ll be having a second summit with the chairman in the not-too-distant future,” Mr Trump said during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-In in New York. “I see tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of chairman Kim.”
Mr Trump said the meeting will likely have a similar format to their June summit in Singapore, but will probably take place at a different location.
Stalled talks have shown new signs of life after Mr Moon and Mr Kim met last week in Pyongyang. At the summit, Mr Kim said he would dismantle a major missile-engine site and possibly his Yongbyon nuclear facility if the US took unspecified “corresponding measures.” Many key details were left unclear, including whether inspectors would be allowed to verify the process.
Both Mr Trump and Mr Kim have recently said they would like to meet again to further discuss a deal for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. The two leaders met for the first time at the Singapore summit, where they agreed in principle to ease tensions and work toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
But North Korea has shown little sign of giving up its arms, and subsequent rounds of negotiations led by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo have not produced so much as a timetable for disarmament.
Earlier on Monday, Mr Trump said Mr Pompeo would be working out the details of a second summit “in the immediate future,” adding that Mr Kim had requested it in “a beautiful letter.”
Mr Moon, speaking through a translator during a meeting with Mr Trump on Monday, said Mr Kim had offered high praise for Mr Trump.
“Chairman Kim conveyed unwavering trust and expectations in you,” Moon said told the US president. “You are indeed the only person who can solve this.”
North Korean leader reportedly told South Korean envoys earlier this month that he would like to achieve denuclearisation before the end of Mr Trump’s first term.
Besides the Trump-Kim meeting in June, leaders of the two Koreas have held three summits this year alone – more than the total in the previous seven decades since fighting stopped. Mr also promised to visit Seoul later this year, another first that Moon hopes would give South Koreans a chance to listen to his thoughts “in his own voice.”
Mr Moon is looking to bridge the gap between Pyongyang and Washington that prompted talks to stall since the June meeting. The biggest stumbling block is a request from North Korea to declare an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War as a confidence-building measure before moving on to the next stage of denuclearisation.
South Korean president said a peace declaration would merely amount to a political statement, and a formal treaty that could lead to the withdrawal of UN and US forces wouldn’t come until the final stage of denuclearisation.