Kim Jong Un ea­ger for next Trump sum­mit

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Thomas Maresca

SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to pur­sue a sec­ond sum­mit with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump “to achieve re­sults that will be wel­comed by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” Chi­nese state me­dia re­ported Thursday.

Kim re­it­er­ated his com­mit­ment to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, ac­cord­ing to the re­port by Xinhua News Agency, which fol­lowed his meet­ing this week with Chi- nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

“The DPRK will con­tinue stick­ing to the stance of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and re­solv­ing the Korean Penin­sula is­sue through di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tion,” Xinhua quoted Kim as say­ing. (The Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea is the of­fi­cial name of North Korea).

Mo­men­tum is build­ing to­ward an­other meet­ing be­tween Trump and Kim. Last week­end, Trump said ne­go­ti­a­tions had be­gun over a lo­ca­tion for their sum­mit, and the re­sult would be an­nounced “in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture.”

Thursday, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in pre­dicted that a sec­ond North Korean-U.S. sum­mit would “take place soon.”

He made the re­mark dur­ing a ma­jor pol­icy ad­dress for the up­com­ing year. He said Kim would visit Seoul and the meet­ings would be “turn­ing points that will firmly so­lid­ify peace on the Korean Penin­sula.”

Kim’s trip to Bei­jing this week may be an­other sig­nal that a sum­mit may come soon. The North Korean leader vis­ited China be­fore and af­ter his first sum­mit with Trump last June in Sin­ga­pore.

China re­mains North Korea’s clos­est ally and most im­por­tant trad­ing part­ner. It ac­counts for 90 per­cent of North Korean ex­ports since 2000, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Korea Devel­op­ment In­sti­tute.

Xi said China hopes North Korea and the United States will “meet each other half­way,” ac­cord­ing to the Xinhua re­port.

“Po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment of the (Korean) Penin­sula is­sue faces a rare his­toric op­por­tu­nity,” Xi said dur­ing Kim’s two-day visit to Bei­jing.

The North Korean dic­ta­tor’s 36th birth­day was cel­e­brated at a ban­quet with the Chi­nese pres­i­dent Tuesday, ac­cord­ing to Xinhua.

Kim vis­ited a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal plant that pro­duces Chi­nese tra­di­tional medicine be­fore he re­turned to North Korea by pri­vate train Wednesday.

South Korean news­pa­pers re­ported this week that the com­mu­nist na­tion of Viet­nam is be­ing con­sid­ered as a site to host the next Trump-Kim sum­mit. The Mun­hwa Ilbo re­ported that of­fi­cials from the United States and North Korea met in Hanoi to dis­cuss sched­ul­ing, and the Korea Her­ald re­ported that Viet­nam wants to host the sum­mit in the coastal city of Danang.

A sec­ond sum­mit would seek to push for­ward a di­plo­matic process that stalled out since their meet­ing in June in Sin­ga­pore. That meet­ing pro­duced a dec­la­ra­tion 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.

The com­mu­nist state con­tin­ues to de­velop its bal­lis­tic weapons pro­gram at sev­eral lo­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton-based Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity.


Last year’s sum­mit be­tween Kim Jong Un and Don­ald Trump re­sulted in prom­ises but few specifics.

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