WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to broker a deal to coax the North to give up its nuclear weapons, the White House announced.
News of a second meeting with the reclusive North Korean leader came after Trump’s 90-minute meeting in the Oval Office with a North Korean envoy, Kim Yong Chol, who travelled to Washington to discuss denuclearisation talks. Trump and Kim Jong-un are to meet near the end of February at a place to be announced later, said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“The United States is going to continue to keep pressure and sanctions on North Korea until we see fully and verified denuclearisation,” Sanders said. “We’ve had very good steps and good faith from the North Koreans in releasing the hostages and other moves. And so we’re going to continue those conversations and the president looks forward to the next meeting.”
In May, North Korea released three American detainees and sent them home with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after his meeting with the North Korean leader in Pyongyang.
The second summit signals stepped-up efforts by both countries to continue talks. Trump has exchanged letters with the North Korean leader amid little tangible progress on the vague denuclearisation agreement reached at their first meeting last June in Singapore.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “it’s high time” for serious negotiations between the United States and North Korea to outline a roadmap for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. The UN chief told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York on Friday that a roadmap would allow both sides “to know exactly what the next steps will be, and to have predictability in the way negotiations take place.”
On Friday, Pompeo met with the North Korean envoy at a Washington hotel before the White House meeting, and the two had lunch together afterward.
Trump has spoken several times of having a second summit early this year. Vietnam has been considered as a possible summit venue, along with Thailand, Hawaii and Singapore.
Since their Singapore sit-down in June, several private analysts have published reports detailing continuing North Korean development of nuclear and missile technology.