White House says talks underway for second Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting

Sep 11, 2018, 15:32 IST | PTI

The first meeting between the two leaders was held in Singapore in June. Talks between the US and North Korea have stalled since the leaders shook hands at the summit hailed as "historic"

White House says talks underway for second Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting
Donald Trump with Kim Jong-un. File Photo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has written a "very warm" letter to US President Donald Trump requesting him for a second meeting, the White House has said, asserting that it is open to the idea and is already in the process of preparing ground for the high-profile summit.

The first meeting between the two leaders was held in Singapore in June. Talks between the US and North Korea have stalled since the leaders shook hands at the summit hailed as "historic". "President has received a letter from Kim Jong-un. It was a very warm, very positive letter. We won't release the full letter unless the North Korean leader agrees that we should," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday.

"The primary purpose of the letter was to request and look to schedule another meeting with the President, which we are open to and are already in the process of coordinating that," she said. Last month, Trump directed his secretary of state Mike Pompeo to delay a planned trip to North Korea, saying he felt "we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

But on Monday, Sanders called the letter "further evidence of progress" in the relationship between the two leaders. She said the White House wanted the meeting to take place. "The letter from Kim Jong-un to the President certainly showed a commitment to continuing conversations, continuing to work on the progress that they have had since their meeting just a few months ago. And also, a continued commitment to focus on denuclearization of the Peninsula," Sanders said.

She rejected suggestions that the countries had made no progress towards the goal outlined in the first summit, citing a recent military parade that apparently replaced a display of the country's long-range nuclear missiles with a focus on economic development. The parade in North Korea, for once, was not about their nuclear arsenal, she added.

The President has achieved" tremendous success" with his policies so far, Sanders said, pointing out to the return of the remains of US troops killed during the Korean war and the release of American citizens who had been held hostage in North Korea. "A number of things that have taken place: The remains have come back; the hostages have returned; there's been no testing of missiles or nuclear material; and of course, the historic summit between the two leaders. And this letter is just further indication of the progress that we hope to continue to make," Sanders said.

After Pompeo visited Pyongyang in the wake of the Singapore summit, North Korean media accused him of making "gangster-like" demands. But the regime has largely refrained from criticising Trump. Trump recently praised Kim in a tweet after the 70th anniversary parade. "Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office.," he said.

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