Trump ex­pects to meet Kim again next year

The New Paper - - NEWS -

Post­poned meet­ing be­tween Pom­peo and N. Korean of­fi­cial raises con­cern that talks could break down

WASH­ING­TON US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Wed­nes­day that he ex­pects to meet again with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un early next year.

He also said a meet­ing be­tween US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and North Korean of­fi­cials that was sup­posed to have taken place this week would be resched­uled.

Mr Pom­peo had been due yes­ter­day to hold talks in New York with a se­nior North Korean of­fi­cial, aimed at paving the way for a sec­ond sum­mit be­tween Mr Trump and Mr Kim and at mak­ing progress on de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

The State Depart­ment said early on Wed­nes­day that the meet­ing had been post­poned but gave no rea­son, rais­ing con­cerns that talks could break down. The depart­ment said the talks would be resched­uled “when our re­spec­tive sched­ules per­mit”.

Mr Trump told a White House news con­fer­ence that the change was “be­cause of trips that are be­ing made”.

He added: “But we are very happy with how it is go­ing with North Korea. We think it is go­ing fine. We’re in no rush.”

Mr Trump said he still ex­pects to hold a sec­ond sum­mit with Mr Kim. He said: “Some time next year, I would say. Some­time early next year.”

Mr Kim pledged to work to­wards de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion at an un­prece­dented first meet­ing with Mr Trump in Sin­ga­pore but ne­go­ti­a­tions have made lit­tle head­way since, with North Korea fall­ing short of US de­mands for ir­re­versible moves to aban­don a weapons pro­gramme that po­ten­tially threat­ens the US.

COM­PLAINT

Py­ongyang has com­plained that Wash­ing­ton has not made con­ces­sions in re­turn for the moves it has taken. And last Fri­day, it warned it could re­sume de­vel­op­ment of its nu­clear pro­gramme if the US did not drop its sanc­tions cam­paign.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has said that sanc­tions will not be lifted un­til North Korea gives up its weapons.

South Korea, which has worked to en­cour­age US-North Korea di­a­logue, sought to play down the talks’ de­lay.

South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung Wha said yes­ter­day that the North had sug­gested a post­pone­ment.

“The North side said, ‘Both of our sched­ules are busy, so let’s post­pone’,” she said, ac­cord­ing to what she was told by the US.

South Korea’s pres­i­den­tial spokesman Kim Eui Kyeom said Seoul did not be­lieve it would mean the sec­ond sum­mit would not take place, and a se­nior South Korean For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial said there was no need to “over­think the post­pone­ment”.

“We have to look at it as a part of the process of reach­ing com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion and set­ting up a peace regime,” the un­named of­fi­cial told re­porters. – REUTERS

PHOTO: AFP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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