President Trump will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un at the end of February, the White House announced Friday.
“President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, referencing the former North Korean spy chief who is Pyongyang’s lead negotiator in the nuclear talks. “The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date.”
Before meeting with the president, Kim Yong Chol met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in order to address the months-long stagnation in denuclearization talks. State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino told NBC the pair “had a good discussion” regarding their “efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un made at their summit in Singapore.”
Negotiations appeared to break down following Trump’s historic summit with Kim in June as North Korean officials publicly refuted the Trump administration’s claim that they had pledged to begin working toward complete denuclearization. But Trump has touted Kim’s efforts to rekindle negotiations through a series of flattering letters.
“We fell in love.” Trump said of his relationship with Kim in September. “No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters.”
Trump replied to Kim in a letter of his own, which was delivered over the weekend and reportedly contained details about the upcoming summit.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who was instrumental in orchestrating the first summit in June, endorsed the idea of a second summit, which he referred to as a potential turning point “that will firmly solidify peace on the Korean Peninsula” in comments to reporters this week.
“We will not loosen our guard until the promise to denuclearize the Peninsula is kept, and peace is fully institutionalized,” Moon added.