Trump says summit with Kim will be held after Nov. midterm elections

October 9, 2018

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) — U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after the U.S. midterm elections slated for early next month.

“It’ll be after the midterms (on Nov. 6). I just can’t leave now,” Trump said as he flew to Iowa for a political rally.

As for the venue, Trump said earlier that three or four locations are being considered for the upcoming summit.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, he said Singapore — the site of their first summit in June — was unlikely. The date, he said, “won’t be too far away.”

“We’re talking about three or four different locations,” Trump said, adding that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a “very, very good” meeting with Kim in Pyongyang over the weekend.

Pompeo came away from his fourth trip to North Korea touting “significant progress” in efforts to dismantle the regime’s nuclear weapons program. He also said the two sides were “pretty close” to finalizing the logistics for the next summit.

U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

Trump said he expects “lots of meetings” to take place in the future both in the U.S. and in North Korea.

Asked if his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida was an option, he said both he and Kim would like that.

“I think it would be good,” he said. “But we’ll see.”

Trump boasted of his “very good relationship” with Kim and cited the recent lack of nuclear and missile tests as a sign of progress in the denuclearization talks.

At the first summit, Kim committed to work toward “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

Critics say there is no evidence the North has taken down its nuclear program, which potentially poses a threat to the U.S.

But North Korea argues it demolished a nuclear testing site in May, has plans to permanently shut down a missile engine testing site and would also shut down its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon if the U.S. takes “corresponding” steps.

North Korea has sought an easing of international sanctions against the regime and the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which closed in an armistice and left the North technically still at war with the U.S.

Trump said he thinks North Korea will be “incredibly economically successful” if it denuclearizes.

“And I think he knows it,” he said of Kim. “And I think that’s one of the reasons that we’re having very successful conversations. I think he wants to get on with it.”

Pompeo later told reporters at the White House that he returned late Monday after making “real progress” on his four-nation Asia swing that took him through Japan, North Korea, South Korea and China.

“While there’s still a long way to go and much work to do, we can now see a path where we will achieve (our) ultimate goal, which is the full and final verified denuclearization of North Korea,” he said.