WASHINTON: President Donald Trump said relations with Kim Jong Un remain “very good” and he opened the door Saturday for a third summit, hours after the North Korean leader said he’s willing to meet as long as the U.S. offers acceptable terms for a deal by year-end.
“I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate,” Trump said Saturday in a tweet. “A third Summit would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand.”
Trump said he looked forward to a day, “which could be soon when Nuclear Weapons and Sanctions can be removed, and then watching North Korea become one of the most successful nations of the World!”
I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate, and that a third Summit would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand. North Korea has tremendous potential for…….
In remarks carried earlier Saturday by the official Korean Central News Agency, Kim said he wouldn’t welcome a repeat of the Hanoi summit in February when Trump walked out without securing a nuclear disarmament deal. While Kim hailed his relationship with Trump, he also said the U.S. has been making unilateral demands and should abandon that approach.
“In any case we will wait with patience for the U.S. courageous decision by the end of this year but it will clearly be tough to get such a good opportunity like the last time,” Kim said in a speech at North Korea’s rubber-stamp legislature, according to the KCNA report.
Kim’s remarks suggest an attempt to breathe new life into the stalled negotiations. While Trump said on Thursday that the door for dialog remains open and a summit “could happen,” he also rejected calls to revive economic projects between North and South Korea. In a leadership shuffle announced Friday, Kim consolidated his power and granted new legitimacy to officials involved in the talks.
“They want to see the U.S. make the next move — that the steps that they took, such as returning war remains and shutting down missile sites, are even more grounds to demand the U.S. to relieve sanctions,” said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korean National Diplomatic Academy. “However, the U.S. has taken a more hard-line stance since the Hanoi summit.”
Trump offered a positive outlook in his Saturday tweet: “North Korea has tremendous potential for extraordinary growth, economic success and riches under the leadership of Chairman Kim.”
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said it was encouraging that Kim personally committed “more than six times to denuclearize” during previous talks. “I am very confident that progress will continue,” he told reporters during a visit to Asuncion, Paraguay, on Saturday, that was part of a South American swing.