Kim Jong Un eager for next Trump summit
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.