U.S. President Donald J. Trump said Monday he plans to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un next month or in early June, indicating a historic summit between the Cold War rivals is still on track.
Speaking at the White House, Trump expressed hope that relations — which for a century have been marked by war, animosity and a perilous arms race — could be put on a friendlier footing.
Trump told reporters before a cabinet meeting that the summit would be sometime in “May or early June” — letting the original May time line slip a little, but confirming the meeting is still on.
“I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully there will be a deal on denuking,” he said. “Hopefully it will be a relationship that will be much different than it has been for many, many years.”
Official: North Korea’s government has communicated with the U.S. to say that leader Kim Jong Un is ready to discuss his nuclear weapons program with President Trump. https://t.co/WdrNwUIVhm (Photo: AP) pic.twitter.com/x70fjJlJm5
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 9, 2018
After Trump’s shock March announcement that he had accepted an invitation to meet the reclusive North Korean leader, there have been doubts about whether the talks will go ahead.
For decades, North Korea has dangled the prospect of “denuclearization” — freezing its nuclear weapons programs — but only if the U.S. withdraws its forces from South Korea.
That would be a non-starter for almost any US president, or for Seoul. But Kim’s recent trip to China and a series of back-channel contacts between the U.S. and North Korea have raised hopes that a deal may just be possible.