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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Trump Looking ‘Forward To Meeting With’ Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was looking forward to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the second time despite the now-stalled denuclearization talks.

Citing a PBS News Hour report, Trump tweeted, "'Kim Jong Un says North Korea will not make or test nuclear weapons, or give them to others - & he is ready to meet President Trump anytime.'" 


"I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!" he added.

Trump, however, did not mention anything else from the remainder of the speech by the North Korean leader, in which he warned the U.S. he could seek an alternative course if Washington tested his patience and stuck to sanctions against the impoverished country.

Trump Looking ‘Forward To Meeting With’ Kim Jong Un

"I am always ready to sit down again with the U.S. president at any time and will make efforts to produce an outcome that the international community would welcome," Kim said. "But we could be left with no choice but to seek a new way if the U.S. does not make good on its promises, misjudges our patience, while seeking to force things unilaterally and clinging to sanctions and pressure," he added, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Referring to the measures that Pyongyang had taken after the Singapore summit between the two leaders in June, including dismantling a nuclear and missile testing site, Kim said, "If the U.S. responds to our active and preemptive efforts with trustworthy steps and corresponding behavior, (the North-U.S. relations) will move forward at an excellent and fast pace in the process of taking concrete and innovative measures.”

Trump’s tweet was Washington's first response to Kim's annual New Year's Day speech.

However, post Kim’s speech, a North Korean defector to South Korea said Kim would not seek a second summit with Trump unless he saw a breakthrough in the denuclearization talks.

Thae Yong-ho, a former senior North Korean diplomat, said though Kim had hopes for a second summit with Trump, he might not attend it.

“But at the same time, if there is no point of compromise between the U.S. and North Korea before a second summit, Kim would rather not attend the meeting," Thae said.

Noting the timing of Kim’s speech, Victor Cha, senior adviser and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Yonhap, "Making this speech that appears open to negotiating after a period of stalled diplomacy at the end of 2018, may be seen as an opportunity to have the leaders meet. At least that is what the negotiators will want to do.”

"But for skeptics, this is the same North Korea -- feigning negotiations over denuclearization but really wanting tension reduction with de facto acceptance as a responsible nuclear weapons state who will not transfer or produce additional capabilities,” he added.

The denuclearization talks were stalled due to sanctions imposed by U.S. under it's "maximum pressure" campaign in order to push Pyongyang toward denuclearization. North Korea wants sanctions lifted for the talks to resume.

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