NKorea's Kim Orders Prep for Trump Meet01/24 06:20

NKorea's Kim Orders Prep for Trump Meet01/24 06:20

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered 
preparations for a second summit with President Donald Trump, saying he'll 
"wait with patience and in good faith" to work toward a common goal, the 
North's state media reported Thursday.

   Despite Kim's determination for another meeting with Trump, the two remain 
at odds over fundamental issues. Experts say a major sticking point is what 
denuclearization steps Kim should take to move forward stalled nuclear 
negotiations and what rewards Trump should provide to push Kim to take those 
measures.

   The Korean Central News Agency said Kim received a letter from Trump from a 
North Korean envoy who met the U.S. president in Washington last week. After 
meeting Kim Yong Chol, Trump said that he and Kim Jong Un will probably meet 
around the end of February but did not say exactly when and where the summit 
would take place.

   Thursday's report said Kim expressed satisfaction with his envoy's meeting 
with Trump and spoke highly of the U.S. president for "expressing his unusual 
determination and will for the settlement of the issue with a great interest in 
the second summit."

   "We will wait with patience and in good faith and, together with the U.S., 
advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries," Kim 
was quoted as saying.

   Kim also "set forth tasks and orientation for making good technical 
preparations" for the second summit high on the agenda, according to KCNA.

   Nuclear negotiations have been stuck since Kim and Trump met in Singapore 
last June for their first summit, which ended with Kim's vague denuclearization 
pledge that his government had previously used when it called for the 
withdrawal of the 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea. A summit accord also 
stated that the United States and North Korea will commit to establishing new 
relations and join efforts to build a lasting and stable peace on the Korean 
Peninsula.

   The strongest step Kim could promise during a second summit may be 
abandoning his long-range missile program targeting the U.S. mainland. That 
step, if realized, would trigger a strong backlash from many in South Korea and 
Japan, which are within the striking distance of North Korea's short- and 
medium-range missiles. In return, Kim is seeking to get U.N. sanctions lifted. 
He also wants better relations with the United States to try to revive his 
country's moribund economy to pave the way for a prolonged rule by his family, 
experts say.

   North Korea observers say Vietnam is likely to be chosen as a venue for a 
second summit but there has been no official confirmation.

   The negotiations have replaced fears of war following a series of North 
Korean high-profile nuclear and missile tests in 2017 that were followed by 
exchanges of crude insults and threats of total destruction between Kim and 
Trump.

   Kim has so far suspended nuclear and missile tests, dismantled North Korea's 
nuclear testing site and parts of its rocket engine test facility and taken 
conciliatory measures, like releasing American detainees. The North now says 
it's time for the U.S. to come up with reciprocal measures.  

   But satellite footage indicates North Korea is still running its main 
nuclear complex, raising questions why it's producing nuclear material if it is 
truly committed to denuclearization. U.S. officials want North Korea to take 
more significant steps such as a declared accounting of its nuclear weapons 
program for future inspections. The North has rejected that, saying such a 
declaration would be like providing coordinates for U.S. military strikes on 
its nuclear facilities.


(KA)

© 2019 CHS Inc.