U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday (local time) that his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “remains good,” putting focus on a possible third summit between the United States and North Korea. Considering his remark was made right after Kim said on the same day that he would wait for a courageous decision by Washington by the end of the year, it has been thought that President Trump intends to appease North Korea by choosing persuasion over pressure.
President Trump twitted, “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.” He added, “A third Summit would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand,” which may intend that he calls upon Kim to come back to the negotiating table to discuss denuclearization. Asked regarding North Korea at a press conference in Paraguay on the same day, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, on his visit to South America, answered that Washington has continued dialogue with Pyongyang since the Hanoi summit. “We have work to do, but I am confident we will continue to make progress,” Pompeo said.
The remarks by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo clearly tell that there is a slim chance of Washington changing its course before any practical denuclearization measure is taken by Pyongyang. North Korea experts in Washington say that both sides only keep calling on the other to take preemptive action, seeing that their negotiations will be left in a gridlock over a longer period of time than expected. Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, told the Dong-A Ilbo over the phone that it is less likely that Kim says yes to a third summit if he does not see any economic reward, forecasting that such a standstill can last longer.