Trump to meet Kim Jong Un, despite North Korea's lapses, Bolton says

The US said it is committed to a diplomatic route with North Korea, with US President Donald Trump likely to hold a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next year.
The US said it is committed to a diplomatic route with North Korea, with US President Donald Trump likely to hold a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next year.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - United States President Donald Trump plans to hold a second meeting early next year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even though Pyongyang has failed to follow through with promises to start dismantling its nuclear weapons programme, Mr John Bolton, the national security adviser, said on Tuesday (Dec 4).

"They have not lived up to the commitments so far," Mr Bolton said. "That's why I think the President thinks another summit is likely to be productive."

Mr Bolton was referring to a pledge the North Korean leader made in June at his first face-to-face meeting with Mr Trump in Singapore.

At the time, Mr Kim said North Korea would work towards "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

Senior US officials interpret that as North Korea taking measurable steps to freeze and dismantle its nuclear programme, most notably turning over a complete list of its assets to the US and other governments.

North Korean officials have not made any such moves, and they have insisted the US should first sign  a formal declaration to end the Korean War as well as ease up on economic sanctions.

The historic Singapore meeting with Mr Trump was a propaganda boon for Mr Kim, who has long wanted direct dialogue with the US.

 
 
 

A second summit would again appease Mr Kim while sacrificing an important point of leverage that the US has with North Korea, according to some analysts.

"This move defies any negotiating logic," said Dr Evan Medeiros, senior Asia policy director in the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

Until this year, the US sought to isolate North Korea diplomatically and economically; now it is relying solely on economic isolation through sanctions.

Mr Bolton said the second meeting between the two leaders would probably take place in January or February.

Mr Bolton added that the US remained committed to a diplomatic route with North Korea, despite setbacks.

"Look, we're going to pursue this," he said. "If the North Koreans follow through on the commitments they made in Singapore, President Trump will deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. He opened a door for them. Now they have to walk through it. That's what we hope to make progress on at the next meeting."