Trump Says He'll Meet With North Korea's Kim in May or JuneBy
U.S. has confirmed Kim willing to discuss denuclearization
Leaders of North and South Korea set to meet April 27
President Donald Trump said Monday he expects to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May or early June, and expressed hope they’d reach a deal on “de-nuking” the Korean peninsula.
The U.S. has confirmed that Kim is willing to discuss giving up his nuclear arsenal in talks with Trump, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
“I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully we’ll be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea,” Trump said. “They’ve said so, we’ve said so, hopefully it’ll be a relationship that’s much different than it’s been for many, many years.”
Trump said a deal would have been easier 10 years ago. Under Kim, North Korea has made rapid strides in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and is believed to be nearing the technological breakthroughs required to deliver a warhead to the continental U.S.
“But we have a meeting that is being set up with North Korea so that’ll be very exciting I think for the world,” he said.
CNN reported on Saturday that the U.S. and North Korea have been holding secret, direct talks to prepare for the summit. That work has been led by Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to become secretary of State. Pompeo, whose confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set for April 12, was chosen after Trump fired Rex Tillerson as his top diplomat.
U.S. and North Korean intelligence officials have spoken more than once and even met in a third country, CNN reported. A State Department spokesman declined to comment.
There had been some suspicion that the meeting might not happen because North Korea still hasn’t publicly acknowledged Kim’s offer to meet Trump. A big question was whether Kim would be willing to talk about the issue most important to Washington: dismantling his nuclear program.
South Korea and China have contended that Kim was willing to do so and South Korea said he had also promised to suspend nuclear and missile tests. Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-In on April 27. Kim traveled to Beijing last month, his first known trip outside North Korea since becoming the country’s leader, in advance of the meeting with Trump.
CNN reported that North Korea wants to host Trump at its capital, Pyongyang, and that preparations are under way for a possible meeting between Pompeo and the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s intelligence agency.