New York, June 2: US President Donald Trump has announced that his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is back on track to take place as originally planned on June 12 in Singapore.
After receiving Kim’s letter and meeting his envoy, Kim Yong Chol, at the White House on Friday, Trump ended speculation about the meeting that he cancelled last week, saying: “We’ll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore.”
Trump told reporters: “I think it’s going to be very successful. They’re incredible people. I think it’s going to be a very great success. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see you on June 12.”
The breakthrough came after Trump appeared to have scaled back his goals for the Singapore summit seeing it as the first step towards a long-drawn process that may involve more meetings rather than having Kim announcing a complete denuclearisation at the summit.
He said on Thursday: “I want it (Singapore talks) to be meaningful. It doesn’t mean it gets all done at one meeting; maybe you have to have a second or a third.”
Pompeo, however, has also asserted that the US won’t budge from the ultimate goal of denuclearising North Korea.
He said that in the talks with Kim Yong-chol, “I have been very clear that President Trump and the US objective is very consistent and well known: the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump had called off the talks last week saying there was “tremendous anger and open hostility” coming out of Pyongyang.
However, the preparations for the summit continued behind the scenes in Singapore and the demilitarised zone on the border between the two Koreas.
These were capped this week by negotiations between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Korean leader’s representative Kim Yong Chol in New York over two days.
After the New York meetings, both Trump and Pompeo sounded optimistic about the prospects for the talks taking place.
North Korea has developed nuclear devices as well as missiles capable of reaching the US mainland heightening the risks for Washington.
After it tested the nuclear bombs and missiles last year, Trump and Kim traded threats and abuses, while the US succeeded in tightening the United Nations sanctions on North Korea.
While Trump would score points internationally and domestically by pulling off the summit and softening his hardline image by having the summit, Kim appears to be equally invested in the denuclearisation talks that could translate to economic development for his impoverished country that is under severe economic sanctions.
North Korea symbolically destroyed its nuclear test sites shortly before Trump announced the cancellation of the summit.