Trump ‘likes’ Kim Jong Un, South Korean pres­i­dent says

Moon says steps will be taken that will please both sides

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Thomas Maresca

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump “likes” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wants to grant Kim’s wishes if Py­ongyang scraps its nu­clear arse­nal, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in said.

En route to New Zealand from the Group of 20 sum­mit this week­end in Ar­gentina, Moon said Trump asked him to for­ward a mes­sage to Kim dur­ing a meet­ing on the side­lines of the gath­er­ing Fri­day.

“The mes­sage was that Pres­i­dent Trump has a very friendly view of Chair­man Kim and that he likes him, and so he wishes Chair­man Kim would im­ple­ment the rest of their agree­ment and that he would make what Chair­man Kim wants come true,” Moon said Satur­day.

Trump and Kim met at a his­toric sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore in June, af­ter which North Korea agreed to work to­ward a “com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Peninsula” and the United States promised to pro­vide se­cu­rity guar­an­tees, but progress has been stalled.

Both sides have held high-level talks since the sum­mit, but Py­ongyang wants re­lief of pun­ish­ing in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions in ex­change for steps it has al­ready taken, such as dis­man­tling a nu­clear test­ing site, while Wash­ing­ton holds out for com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

North Korea has con­tin­ued to run its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram at sev­eral se­cret bases, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, a Wash­ing­ton think tank. Py­ongyang an­nounced the test of a new “ul­tra­mod­ern tac­ti­cal weapon” this month amid the stalled diplo­matic efforts.

Moon said “cor­re­spond­ing mea­sures” might be given for steps North Korea takes to­ward com­pletely dis­man­tling its nu­clear weapons pro­gram, but these do not have to in­clude sanc­tions re­lief.

“For ex­am­ple, post­pon­ing or re­duc­ing U.S. (and South Korean joint) mil­i­tary ex­er­cises may be a sort of cor­re­spond­ing mea­sure or hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance or some kind of non­po­lit­i­cal ex­change, whether it is a sports ex­change or an art troupe,” he said.

A South Korean train crossed the heav­ily guarded border into North Korea for the first time in more than a decade Fri­day, as ex­perts from the South be­gin a sur­vey of rail­way tracks in the North. Seoul wants to push ahead with a project to con­nect the two coun­tries’ rail­way net­works de­spite strin­gent United Na­tions sanc­tions. The trip re­quired spe­cial per­mis­sion from the United Na­tions to carry equip­ment and fuel into the North.

Moon said it was pos­si­ble that Kim could visit Seoul be­fore the end of the year.

The meet­ing, which would mark the first time a North Korean leader has vis­ited the South’s cap­i­tal since the end of the Korean War of 1950-1953, was an­nounced af­ter an in­ter-Korean sum­mit in June but post­poned in the midst of the Py­ongyang-Wash­ing­ton stale­mate.

Sun­day, Trump said he ex­pected a sec­ond sum­mit with Kim in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary and Kim would prob­a­bly visit the USA “at some point.“

“We’re get­ting along very well,” he said. “We have a good re­la­tion­ship.”

Trump did not clar­ify whether that sum­mit could be held in the USA. “We have ac­tu­ally talked about three sites,” he said. “We haven’t de­ter­mined the sites.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump has a very friendly view of Chair­man Kim.” South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in

ANTHONY WAL­LACE /AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un walks with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump af­ter a sign­ing cer­e­mony in Sin­ga­pore on June 12.

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