New York: President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States and North Korea have “a wonderful relationship going” and that he would be announcing the timing and location of his next meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the “very near future.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said officials were laying the groundwork for the next summit, but any meeting would likely occur after October.
Trump, speaking to reporters as he was entering the United Nations, said: “I’ll be meeting with Chairman Kim in the very near future. It’ll be announced. We’re having a press conference today. We’ll start talking about that. But we’ll be announcing where and when in the very near future.”
Asked what North Korea had to do before his next meeting with Kim, Trump said the two had made “a tremendous amount of progress” since last year.
“They’re denuclearising North Korea. We have a wonderful relationship going between our country and them,” he said.
Pompeo said in an interview with ‘CBS This Morning’ that US officials were “working diligently to make sure we get the conditions right so that we can accomplish as much as possible during the summit. But we hope it will be soon.
“It may happen in October but more likely sometime after that.”
Trump held an unprecedented summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12 that yielded a broad pledge by Kim to “work toward” denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Kim’s commitments and actions, however, have fallen far short of Washington’s demands for a complete inventory of North Korea’s weapons programmes and irreversible steps to give up a nuclear arsenal that potentially threatens the United States.
In his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump praised Kim for his courage in taking steps to disarm, but said much work still had to be done and sanctions must remain in place on North Korea until it denuclearises.
On Wednesday, he told the UN Security Council that many positive things were happening behind the scenes on North Korea, “away from the media.”
“So I think you will have some very good news coming from North Korea in the coming months and years.”
Trump said Kim had reaffirmed his commitment to complete denuclearisation to him directly in a “very strong letter form.”
“I think we will make a deal,” he said. “But unfortunately to ensure this progress continues, we musty enforce existing UN Security Council resolutions until denuclearisation occurs,” Trump said, while complaining that some nations were violating UN sanctions.
Trump’s remarks on North Korea this year have been dramatically different from those in his speech last year at the UN assembly, when he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and mocked the North Korean leader as “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission”.
“It will take a while; there will be a process to this,” Pompeo said. “President Trump’s been clear about that and clear-eyed about that since the very beginning.”
Asked if Kim had agreed to allow international inspectors into nuclear sites, Pompeo said, “Yes,” while adding that verification was important in any nuclear agreement.
“We’ve talked about this verification from the beginning,” he told CBS. “We’re not going to buy a pig in a poke. We’re going to get this right. We’re going to deliver on this commitment [to denuclearise] that Chairman Kim has made to the world.”
Pompeo said he would be going to Pyongyang soon but did not give a date.