Donald Trump upbeat on meeting Kim Jong Un 'soon'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump arriving for their meeting in the Demilitarised Zone. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump arriving for their meeting in the Demilitarised Zone. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump has said he had a "great meeting" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the weekend and he looks "forward to seeing him again soon".

"In the meantime, our teams will be meeting to work on some solutions to very long-term and persistent problems," Mr Trump said on Twitter on Monday. "No rush, but I am sure we will ultimately get there!" he said.

Meanwhile, North Korean state media said on Monday that Mr Kim and Mr Trump agreed at their meeting on Sunday to push forward with talks for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Mr Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea on Sunday when he met Mr Kim in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas and agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks.

"The top leaders of the two countries agreed to keep in close touch in the future, too, and resume and push forward productive dialogues for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and in the bilateral relations," KCNA news agency said.

The meeting, initiated by a tweet by Mr Trump that Mr Kim said took him by surprise, displayed the rapport between the two. However, analysts said they were no closer to narrowing the gap between their positions since they walked away from their summit in February in Vietnam.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters shortly before departing South Korea that a new round of talks would likely happen "sometime in July... probably in the next two or three weeks", and North Korea's negotiators would be foreign ministry diplomats.

In a photo released by KCNA on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Mr Pompeo are shown sitting next to Mr Kim and Mr Trump respectively in Freedom House, the building in which the two leaders had their one-on-one talks.

 
 
 

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Mr Trump to show flexibility towards North Korea, including the timely easing of sanctions, at the Group of 20 summit last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday.

Mr Xi visited North Korea prior to meeting Mr Trump at the G-20 event on Saturday, and analysts had said the Chinese president could use the trip as leverage in his trade war talks with the US leader.

China's Mr Wang told reporters yesterday that Mr Xi "pushed for the US to show flexibility and meet the DPRK halfway, including the timely easing of sanctions against the DPRK and finding a solution to each other's concerns through dialogue". He was referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China and North Korea have worked to improve relations in the past year after they deteriorated as Beijing backed a series of United Nations sanctions against its Cold War-era ally over its nuclear activities. But Beijing has sought to keep Pyongyang within its sphere of influence and Mr Kim met Mr Xi four times in China in the past four years.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline 'Trump upbeat on meeting Kim 'soon''. Print Edition | Subscribe