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Trump Expects to Meet Kim Next Year as Nuke Talks Stall

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US President Donald Trump has said he expects to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a second summit “sometime early next year” amid stalled negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The statement comes as a meeting between secretary of state Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean officials in New York scheduled for Thursday, was cancelled at the last minute, while Trump declared he was “in no rush” to advance talks.

“We are going to make it ... another day,” he told reporters in Washington. “But we’re very happy with how it’s going with North Korea. We think it’s going fine. We’re in no rush.”

Trump plans to meet with Kim for a second time, after a historic first summit in Singapore in June.

Despite Trump’s upbeat attitude, the move by Kim Yong-chol, a former spymaster and senior advisor to Kim Jong-un, to abruptly cancel the trip appears to have caught US officials by surprise. Pompeo had said the meeting would focus on a second summit “where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization”.

“North Korea doesn’t want to waste time haggling with Trump’s ‘minions’,” Vipin Narang, a politics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote on Twitter. “They just want to hold out for the summit with him directly, where KJU has his best shot of getting major concessions directly from Trump. They are probably right.”

Other observers pointed to the aborted trip as a negotiating tactic. In August Pompeo cancelled a trip to North Korea after Trump said there was unlikely to be progress.

“While it’s notable and disappointing that North Korea’s envoy failed to show up for talks with the US, it’s not altogether surprising,” Jean Lee, head of the Korea program at the Wilson Center, wrote on Twitter. “Standing Pompeo up is a negotiating tactic, designed to put pressure on the US and to gain the upper hand.”

North Korea has for weeks complained over continued US sanctions, saying that the minor concessions it has made to date should warrant fewer restrictions. But US officials have repeatedly said sanctions relief would only come after denuclearization.

“I would love to take the sanctions off, but they have to be responsive too. It’s a two-way street,” Trump said.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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