President Donald Trump said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have “made incredible progress” on negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and are considering three to four locations for a second summit that would take place after the November midterm elections.
“We’re setting that up right now,” Trump told reporters Tuesday in the Oval Office. “We’re talking about three or four different locations, timing won’t be too far away.”
He added it will be “probably a different location” than Singapore, where the two leaders held their first summit. North Korean officials have suggested Pyongyang as a site, though that would hand a major propaganda victory to Kim without him having to make a concession. Prior to that meeting, other sites reportedly under consideration were Geneva and Stockholm.
Trump said “eventually we’re going to have lots of meetings on U.S. soil and on their soil by the way. That’s a two-way street.”
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo came away from meetings in North Korea on Sunday without a date for another Trump-Kim meeting or any news on when key milestones in denuclearization might take place. Later on Tuesday, Trump said the summit wouldn’t take place until after the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
“I just can’t leave right now,” said Trump, who was en route to a campaign rally in Iowa. Trump said he had spoken at length with Pompeo after the secretary of state met with Kim and the two had “a very, very good meeting.”
Trump emphasized the rapport he says he’s developed with the North Korean leader as they negotiate over U.S. demands that Kim abandon his country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
“I like him, he likes me, the relationship is good,” Trump said of Kim.
Pompeo told a reporter traveling with him Monday that “we made significant progress. We’ll continue to make significant progress, and we are further along in making that progress than any administration in an awfully long time.”
He cited Kim’s invitation to have inspectors visit the already dismantled Punggye-ri test facility, the site of all six of the regime’s nuclear blasts. But when asked when inspectors might arrive, Pompeo offered few specifics.
“As soon as we get it logistically worked out, Chairman Kim said he’s ready” to “allow them to come in,” and once the arrangements are made “we’ll put them on the ground,” Pompeo said.
As part of his delegation to Pyongyang, Pompeo brought along Stephen Biegun, his special representative to North Korea and the diplomat expected to take on more of the day-to-day negotiating with Kim’s regime.
But Biegun never got to meet his likely North Korean counterpart, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui. Choe was out of the country -- meeting officials in Russia and China -- when the Americans arrived.
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