Trump sug­gests Viet­nam for sum­mit: Re­port

N. Ko­rea said to be re­view­ing the idea, says Ja­pa­nese news­pa­per

The Straits Times - - WORLD -

SEOUL • US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sug­gested hold­ing the an­tic­i­pated sec­ond sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Viet­nam in mid-Fe­bru­ary, a Ja­pa­nese news­pa­per said yes­ter­day.

The Yomi­uri Shim­bun, , cit­ing of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter, re­ported that North Ko­rea ap­peared to have re­viewed the US pro­posal but had not yet given a re­sponse.

The re­port comes amid ris­ing spec­u­la­tion that the two lead­ers are soon to hold the sec­ond sum­mit to re­sume the stalled talks on de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion fol­low­ing their first meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore in June last year.

Mr Trump had pre­vi­ously con­firmed that talks on the lo­ca­tion of the sec­ond sum­mit with Mr Kim were un­der way and that they are to an­nounce it in the “not-too-dis­tant fu­ture”.

Mr Kim, in his New Year’s speech, had also ex­pressed his will­ing­ness to meet Mr Trump again “at any time”.

For the sec­ond meet­ing, Viet­nam, Sin­ga­pore and Hawaii had been men­tioned as pos­si­ble venues for the bi­lat­eral sum­mit.

But ex­perts thought Viet­nam and Sin­ga­pore held higher pos­si­bil­i­ties as they have North Korean em­bassies, while Hawaii does not.

Viet­nam re­port­edly has de­liv­ered mes­sages to both South and North Ko­rea that it wishes to host the en­vi­sioned sum­mit in its re­sort town of Danang.

For­mer of­fi­cials of the US gov­ern­ment that worked on the North Korean is­sue have also ex­pected the sec­ond US-North Ko­rea sum­mit to hap­pen soon, but they also ex­pressed doubts on whether the two would be able to reach an agree­ment.

The nu­clear talks have failed to ad­vance after the first sum­mit last year due to dif­fer­ences in their stance on de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

While the US in­sists that North Ko­rea takes more con­crete ac­tion to­wards de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion and sub­mits a list of its nu­clear weapons, Py­ongyang de­mands re­cip­ro­cal ges­tures, such as eas­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions.

In an in­ter­view with Ra­dio Free Asia (RFA), a US news out­let, last Fri­day, for­mer US nu­clear ne­go­tia­tor with North Ko­rea, Mr Robert Gal­lucci, said the sec­ond sum­mit is likely to take place at the end of this month or next.

An­other for­mer US en­voy ex­pressed scep­ti­cism as to whether progress would come from the en­vi­sioned sum­mit.

“The two lead­ers of the United States and North Ko­rea will shake hands, have din­ner ban­quets and hold a sum­mit like they did in the Sin­ga­pore sum­mit,” Mr Robert King, the US for­mer spe­cial en­voy for North Korean Hu­man Rights Is­sues told RFA. But a prac­ti­cal out­come is not ex­pected, he added.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo re­it­er­ated his coun­try’s stance on a “full and fi­nal” de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion while ex­press­ing hope that the US and North Ko­rea make sub­stan­tial progress this year.

“Re­duc­ing the threat from North Ko­rea, whether that’s by our suc­cess to date in stop­ping their mis­sile test­ing, stop­ping their nu­clear test­ing, those are the im­por­tant el­e­ments. We’ve got to get to full and fi-

“The two lead­ers of the United States and North Ko­rea will shake hands, have din­ner ban­quets and hold a sum­mit like they did in the Sin­ga­pore sum­mit,” Mr Robert King, the US for­mer spe­cial en­voy for North Korean Hu­man Rights Is­sues told RFA. But a prac­ti­cal out­come is not ex­pected, he added.

nal de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion,” he said in an in­ter­view with Fox News last Fri­day.

“I don’t think there has been a sin­gle vari­ant from the core propo­si­tion, which is the fully de­nu­cle­arised North Ko­rea as ver­i­fied by in­ter­na­tional ex­perts, (which) is the ob­jec­tive of this ad­min­is­tra­tion. We in­tend to achieve that,” said Mr Pom­peo.

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