NEW YORK - South Korea’s president personally relayed a message on Monday to U.S. President Donald Trump, telling him that North Korea’s leader wants to meet him again soon to make progress on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“You are indeed the only person who can solve this problem,” Moon Jae-in, who met Kim Jong Un last week in Pyongyang, told Trump.
The U.S. president responded that he would be “having a second summit with Chairman Kim in the not-to-distant future” and the location remains to be determined but likely would not be Singapore, where he first met the North Korean leader on June 12.
“The relationship is very good – in fact in some ways it is extraordinary,” added Trump.
Washington and Pyongyang have never established diplomatic relations, a technical state of war persists on the peninsula and North Korea is not believed to have actually taken any promised steps toward giving up its nuclear arsenal.
Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters such a second Trump-Kim summit would have “enormous value” and he is confident it will happen.
Diplomacy continues “to help Chairman Kim get to the right place to honor the promise he made to President Trump in Singapore” during the initial summit with leader Kim, according to Pompeo.
“I’m confident that will happen,” Pompeo replied to skepticism expressed by reporters at a news conference Monday alongside National Security Adviser John Bolton and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. But to set a date certain for North Korean denuclearization “would be foolish,” according to Pompeo who stated he expects to go again to Pyongyang to arrange a second summit.
“Lord willing, I’ll be traveling before the end of the year,” Pompeo said.
The secretary of state declined to discuss particular sticking points and to what extent the two countries are talking about the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile programs.
“There’s lots going on,” according to Pompeo. “We’re not going to talk about the state of the negotiations.” But he said the goal remains the complete, verified, irreversible, denuclearization of North Korea.
At the United Nations earlier, Trump cited his administration's "tremendous progress" on North Korea.
The president cited a recent "beautiful letter," sent to him from Kim, in which the North Korean leader asked for a second meeting.
The comments come a year after Trump used a U.N. speech to threaten to "totally destroy" North Korea and called Kim "rocket man."
Since then Trump has changed his tone. After his initial historic meeting with Kim in June, the president insisted a deal had been reached under which North Korea would abandon its nuclear weapons.
Prior to a second Trump-Kim summit the Trump Administration “should demand tangible progress by North Korea toward denuclearization, such as a declaration of WMDs and facilities, permitting onsite inspections, a clear commitment and timetable to end production and destroy weapons of mass destruction or other steps,” says Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Brett Schaefer.
“Rewarding North Korea with a meeting without tangible progress would be a mistake,” Schaefer tells VOA.