President Donald Trump says he’s ready to meet again with Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons. In a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump said he’d just received a letter from the North Korean leader. (Jan. 2)
SEOUL – Negotiations are underway on the site for a second summit between the U.S. and North Korea, President Donald Trump said Sunday, although he didn’t specify when the meeting would take place.
“We’re negotiating a location,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding a helicopter for a staff retreat at Camp David. “It will be announced probably in the not-too-distant future.”
Trump, who said last week that he had received a “great letter” from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, stressed that Washington’s relationship with Pyongyang was going smoothly.
“With North Korea, we have a very good dialogue,” he said, claiming that he had spoken “indirectly” to Kim.
“I’m going to not go any further than that. I’m just going to say it’s very special,” Trump said.
The president’s remarks came after a week of sharp rhetoric from North Korea over diplomatic negotiations that appear to have hit an impasse.
In a televised New Year’s address, Kim Jong Un said he was ready to meet again with Trump “anytime” but delivered a warning not to test North Korea’s patience over sanctions, threatening that the communist state may have to find a “new way” to defend its interests.
An editorial in North Korea state media on Thursday further warned the U.S. to avoid “meddling” in inter-Korean affairs and criticized Washington’s “unreasonable attitude” and “hostile” policies.
The first summit between Trump and Kim, held last June in Singapore, produced a declaration stating that North Korea would work toward a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But details on timing and the meaning of the agreement remain vague.
Pyongyang continues to look for relief from punishing international sanctions and an agreement for a formal end to the Korean War, while Washington is holding out for complete denuclearization, sticking to its “maximum pressure” strategy on the economic and diplomatic fronts.
Trump reiterated on Sunday that sanctions would remain “in full force” until North Korea provided “very positive proof” of results.
He also defended the results of his diplomatic approach with North Korea, repeating a claim that there would have been a war in Asia without his administration’s efforts.
“Anybody else but me, you’d be in war right now,” he said. “You would, right now, be in a nice, big, fat war in Asia with North Korea if I wasn’t elected president.”
Also Sunday, Trump commented on upcoming trade talks with China, saying that he believed Beijing wants to make a deal.
“The tariffs have absolutely hurt China very badly,” he said, referring to the $250 billion in tariffs the U.S. has imposed on Chinese goods. “I think China wants to get it resolved,” he said. “Their economy is not doing well.”
China’s economy has seen a slowdown over recent months 2018, a chill that is being felt globally across stock markets and sluggish sales forecasts from companies such as Apple.
A U.S. delegation is in Beijing for two days of trade talks scheduled to start on Monday. The world’s two largest economies agreed in December to a temporary truce on the trade war and are looking to strike a new deal before a March 2 deadline.
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