In comments ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said Sunday that crippling sanctions imposed on nuclear-armed North Korea will remain “in full force and effect” until the United States sees “very positive” results.
Trump said that discussions on the location of the next summit are underway and that further details will be announced soon.
“We are negotiating a location,” he said, according to the televised remarks.
The White House has remained evasive on the exact timing of the summit, though officials have previously said they expect the meeting to happen sometime early this year.
“It will be announced probably in the not too distant future. They do want to meet and we want to meet and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
“With North Korea, we have a very good dialogue,” he added, saying he had “indirectly spoken” with Kim.
Trump, who held a landmark summit with Kim in Singapore in June, said last week that he had received a “great letter” from the North Korean leader but declined to reveal its contents.
The latest letter from Kim came after the North Korean leader warned in a New Year’s speech that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions.
In his address, Kim urged the United States to take reciprocal measures in exchange for denuclearization steps the North Korean dictator has claimed his country has taken since last year. Experts say the North likely expects these measures to include some form of eased sanctions.
The North Korean leader also said he was willing to meet Trump again at any time to produce results “welcomed by the international community.”
China and Russia have both pushed for an easing of the crushing sanctions on North Korea that Pyongyang says is halting its attempt at fixing its moribund economy.
Kim devoted a large chunk of his New Year’s address to reiterating his shift in focus from nuclear weapons to rebuilding the North’s economy, calling for increasing electricity generation — including via the use of nuclear energy — and other development projects.
In the 30-minute speech, Kim spent more than 20 minutes highlighting his campaign to create a “self-reliant” economy despite a “harsh economic blockade.”
This year’s speech drew intense attention, coming as U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks remain at an impasse months after the landmark summit. Their meeting resulted in a vaguely worded pledge “to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Still, Trump has cast his first summit with Kim as a key foreign policy win, and Sunday reiterated his claim that there would have been war in Asia had the pair not met.
“Anyone else but me, you would have been at war right now. … You right now would have been at a nice big fat war in Asia with North Korea if I hadn’t been elected president.”
© 2019 the Japan Times (Tokyo)
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