U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (local time) that his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be held after U.S. midterm elections on November 6. The remark is his de facto dismissal of Kim’s reported demand of an earlier summit.
While flying to Iowa for a political rally, Trump told reporters: “(The second summit) be after the midterms. I just can’t leave now.”
During a latest meeting in Pyongyang with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kim reportedly expressed hope that the summit would be held before the midterm elections. “We understand North Korea has conveyed a message that it does not care when the venue would be as long as (the summit) takes place at an early date,” a diplomatic source said.
By making it clear that a new summit will be after the midterm elections, however, Trump has reaffirmed its determination that he would not play the “time game” for North Korea’s denuclearization. He said that “three or four” different locations other than Singapore are being considered for the summit venue, suggesting that the talks will take place in a city outside of the U.S. and North Korea.
“I think eventually we're going to have lots of meetings on U.S. soil and on their soil, by the way — you know, that's a two-way street. On their soil also,” Trump told reporters, indicating the possibility of shuttle diplomacy between him and the North Korean leader. When asked whether Kim might venture to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s luxury resort in Florida, Trump said, “He’d probably like that. I’d like that, too. I think it would be good. But we’ll see.”
“Now we haven’t removed sanctions, as you know. You know, people said, ‘What have we done?’ We haven’t removed sanctions. We have very big sanctions,” he said. “I’d love to remove them, but we have to get something for doing that.”
As Trump is showing an attitude of not rushing talks with the North for its denuclearization, the South Korean government will have to revise its denuclearization roadmap. Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has been considering an end-of-war declaration involving Seoul, Pyongyang, and Washington, between a Trump-Kim summit in October and the North Korean leader’s planned visit to Seoul in December.
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