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2nd Trump-Kim summit set for end of February, White House says

President Donald J. Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un | June 12, 2018. (Shealah Craighead/White House)
January 18, 2019

The second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will take place sometime near the end of February, the White House announced on Friday afternoon.

“[President Trump] looks forward to a second summit with Chairman Kim, which will take place near the end of February. Location will be announced at a later date,” the White House tweeted.

A top North Korean official flew to the U.S. this week to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

North Korea and the United States have been at a standstill over denuclearization since Trump and Kim’s first summit this past June in Singapore.

North Korea has said the U.S. should be more lenient with economic sanctions in order for North Korea to lay out concrete denuclearization steps.

Since the first summit, there have been reports that North Korea is actually upgrading and expanding missile sites, rather than shutting down production.

After a New York Times report in November 2018 that claimed North Korea had “16 secret” ballistic missile bases, Trump said he was aware of them, and that the story was “inaccurate.”

“We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad,” Trump had tweeted.

Since the June 2018 summit, top U.S. and North Korean officials have met or tried to meet.

The U.S. earlier in November had abruptly delayed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s high-level talk on denuclearization with a top North Korean official in New York City, citing scheduling as the issue but not saying when the meeting would be rescheduled.

This came amid rhetoric from North Korea that the U.S. should ease up on sanctions if its wants to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula – tensions between North Korea and the U.S. had risen when North Korea threatened to resume its nuclear weapons program if the U.S. doesn’t lift economic sanctions.

Pompeo had in October 2018 met again with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and said the meeting was “productive.”

Kim had later that day agreed to a second summit with President Trump at the “earliest possible date.”

However, North Korea had also threatened to possibly restart its nuclear weapons program if the United States doesn’t lift economic sanctions. Trump said in September 2018 that sanctions will remain in effect against North Korea until denuclearization takes place.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been in the international spotlight throughout 2018, and it was a major theme of the Trump-Kim summit this past June.

When he spoke at the United Nations in 2018, Trump said he and Kim had “highly productive conversations and meetings,” and they had agreed it was in both parties’ best interests to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The President has also pointed out how his relationship with Kim has improved since last year, when it felt like every other week there were reports of North Korea firing off nuclear missile tests.