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Trump says will meet Kim after midterms, venue undecided

The second US-North Korea summit will be held after the US midterm elections, with three or four locations being considered, US President Donald Trump said Tuesday.

“I just can’t leave now,” Trump was quoted as saying aboard Air Force One, referring to his campaign activities that do not allow for a summit before the Nov. 6 elections.

Earlier in the day at the White House, Trump also said that “three or four locations” are being considered by his staff, and once again stressed his vision of North Korea’s economic development following complete denuclearization.

“I think it’s going to be incredibly economically successful, and I want to make it that way,” Trump said. 

US President Donald Trump arrives on stage for a rally at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Oct. 9. (AFP)
US President Donald Trump arrives on stage for a rally at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Oct. 9. (AFP)

In a press briefing, Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert hinted that the location and time of the meeting are down to logistics, rather than the US’ requiring Pyongyang to take further denuclearization-related actions.

Asked if the US was waiting for action from Pyongyang, Nauert said that the US “has not said anything about waiting for North Korea to do anything more,”

The spokesperson also said that Washington was “pleased” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s decision to invite experts to assess dismantled missile and nuclear sites and that Trump hopes to “build upon the trust” established at the June 12 summit in Singapore.

Nauert’s comments implying that Washington is satisfied with North Korea’s actions for the time being echo Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on his latest trip to Pyongyang.

Pompeo met Kim in Pyongyang on a one-day trip Sunday, and met with President Moon Jae-in in Seoul later in the day.

Speaking to reporters at the White House also on Tuesday, Pompeo said that there was “real progress” from his trip, and that the path to denuclearization was now visible.

“And while there’s still a long way to go and much work to do, we can now see a path to where we’ll achieve the ultimate goal, which is the full and final verified denuclearization of North Korea,” Pompeo said.

“I want to thank Chairman Kim for the time that I got to spend with him where we got to talk about all the range of issues that are in front of our two countries that will let us get there, and he appreciated the president having sent me.”

According to Seoul’s presidential office, Kim and Pompeo spent more than five hours together on Sunday, with only Kim, his sister, Kim Yo-jong, and an interpreter attending two-hour meetings in the morning and afternoon.

“We will, in short order, be able to talk about when the president will get a chance to meet with him at what will be the second summit,” Pompeo said at the press meeting.

By Choi He-suk (