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US negotiating with North Korea on next summit venue, Trump says

On June 12, 2018, in Singapore, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after signing an agreement at the Capella Hotel. (Ministry of Communications Singapore/Zuma Press/TNS)
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The United States is “negotiating a location” for a second summit with the North Korean leader, President Donald Trump said, even as both sides suggest a stalemate continues over key issues in nuclear talks.

His comments came nearly a week after Kim Jong Un said in his New Year’s speech that he was ready to meet with Trump at any time but warned the United States against pushing ahead with economic sanctions.

The U.S. administration insists on maintaining the punishing measures aimed at forcing the North to give up its nuclear weapons. But Pyongyang seeks a reciprocal approach, with rewards including eased sanctions for steps already taken.

The president told reporters outside the White House on Sunday that his administration is “doing very well” with North Korea, citing the lack of missile tests as progress.

“When I came here, this country was headed to war with North Korea and now we have a very good dialogue going,” Trump said in the televised remarks.

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“You would right now be in a nice, big fat war in Asia with North Korea if I wasn’t elected president,” he said, adding that he has “indirectly spoken to Chairman Kim.”

He refused to elaborate, but the president said last week that he had received a “great letter” from Kim.

Trump, who first met with Kim in an unprecedented U.S.-North Korean summit on June 12 in Singapore, has said previously that he hoped to hold another meeting early this year. His remarks on Sunday went a step further by suggesting that logistics are being discussed.

“We’re negotiating a location. It will be announced probably in the not-too-distant future,” he said before leaving for Camp David in Maryland. “But the sanctions remain in full force and effect and they will until we have some real, positive proof.”

Trump and Kim reached a vague agreement to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” during their first summit. But talks have since stalled over disagreements about what that means.

During his New Year’s speech, the North Korean leader said he hopes to meet again with Trump but warned the United States not to test his country’s patience with sanctions. He also said the United States should not resum joint military exercises with South Korea.

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© 2019 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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