U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, 19th of February, that he does intend to get involved in the matter of North Korea ending its nuclear program, but has no pressing time schedule for this, as he dispatched his special envoy to finalize preparations for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said sanctions against North Korea would remain in place in the meantime and noted Pyongyang’s freeze in nuclear and missile testing since 2017.
“I’m in no rush. There’s no testing. As long as there is no testing, I’m in no rush. If there’s testing, that’s another deal,” he said. “I’d just like to see ultimately denuclearization of North Korea.”
“I think that North Korea and Chairman Kim have some very positive things in mind and we’ll soon find out, but I’m in no rush,” he said, adding that sanctions were continuing in the meantime.
“I hope that positive things are going to happen. I think it’ll be a very exciting couple of days.”
No specific signs of involvement of the US in North Korea’s denuclearization
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of Kim last week it was “time for him to deliver,” but the Trump administration has moved away from demands that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons immediately and has appeared to adopt a more gradual, reciprocal approach Pyongyang has insisted on.
The U.S. State Department said U.S. special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, was traveling to Hanoi on Tuesday to continue preparations for Trump’s second summit with Kim scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in the Vietnamese capital.
Biegun spent three days in North Korea from Feb. 6-8, a trip he said was aimed at agreeing on “concrete deliverables” for the summit.
The State Department offered no sign of any specific progress after those talks but said Biegun agreed to hold further meetings with his counterpart Kim Hyok Chol before summit. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told a news briefing on Tuesday he had no details of the meetings the envoy would have in Hanoi.
Biegun said after his North Korea visit his talks had been “productive” but there was “hard work to do” before the summit.
The United States has been demanding that North Korea give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States, and Trump has been eager for a second summit even though a first meeting in Singapore in June meeting produced only vague commitments from Kim and little concrete progress since.