US President Donald Trump said another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would “most likely” happen but offered no details on timing or venue in an interview with Reuters Monday.
In the interview Trump pointed to an absence of missile or nuclear tests from Pyongyang as a measure of the success he’s had in dealing with the reclusive regime, which last year was threatening the US mainland with nuclear strikes.
“I stopped (North Korea’s) nuclear testing. I stopped (North Korea’s) missile testing. Japan is thrilled. What’s going to happen? Who knows? We’re going to see,” Trump said.
When the two leaders met in Singapore in June, Trump praised the young autocrat, saying Kim had “to be a rough guy,” but that he’s “smart, loves his people, he loves his country. He wants a lot of good things and that’s why he’s doing this.”
Senior diplomatic sources have told CNN that North Korea has rejected repeated proposals from the White House on denuclearization.
The United States has made, and continues to make, “specific proposals for starting and proceeding to the end point of fully verified denuclearization,” including a timeline, these sources say.
North Korea has rejected all of these proposals, considering them “gangster-like,” one of the sources said.
Trump was asked in Monday’s interview if North Korea had done anything beyond dismantling a test site to show it was in the process of denuclearizing. “I do believe they have,” he told Reuters, but did not provide further details.
Inter-Korean summit coming in September
South Korea welcomed Trump’s comments about a prospective second summit between the US President and Kim Jong Un.
A spokesman for the Blue House, the South Korean presidential palace, said a possible second summit was a sign of Trump and Kim’s “will for denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.”
“As we’ve been seeing the US-NK relations advance quickly, we hope [it] comes to fruition,” Kim Eui-keum told reporters on Tuesday.
The leaders of the two Koreas are scheduled to meet in September for their third summit this year.
Spokesman Kim said the relationship between the US and North Korea and the inter-Korean relationship should work together to move the region beyond crisis.
“It should be a virtuous cycle where the development of NK-US relations promotes the development of inter-Korean relations, and the development of inter-Korean relations leads to the development of NK-US relations,” he said.
At the same time, the spokesman said Washington’s relationship with Pyongyang would always progress at a slower rate.
“The two countries that have had hostile relations for about 70 years normalized relations on June 12,” he said. “The progress of restoring relations cannot go in a straight line and also not at the same speed.”