Kim summit: USA diplomats hold 'productive meeting' with North Korean counterparts

Geraldine Edwards
February 13, 2019

He said his relationship with Kim "is a good one".

But Trump told USA broadcaster CBS last week that he had "no plans" to remove United States troops from South Korea as part of a deal at the upcoming summit, although he admitted "maybe someday" he would withdraw them, adding: "It's very expensive to keep troops there".

Trump and Kim held their first meeting in Singapore in June 2018. That would require major changes to the North's personality cult and "juche" ideology of self sufficiency.

Trump announced Hanoi as the location on Twitter, hailing as "very productive" the preparatory talks between diplomats from the two countries.

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In another series of tweets also on Friday night, Mr. Trump said: "North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse".

"The U.S. side has sounded out a foreign ministers' meeting". They left after a few hours, the source said.

Biegun led a delegation of more than 20 US officials, apparently because discussions over the agenda and protocol will be tricky.

The US State Department announced that the special US envoy for North Korea will meet again with Pyongyang officials before the second summit - hours after he returned to Seoul from talks in the North on the summit's agenda. However, differences between the two sides remain over critical issues including the scale of denuclearization, us sanctions and whether to issue a war-ending declaration. Senior intelligence officials expressed their doubts that North Korea will denuclearize during a Senate panel last week.

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It has been noted that though Kim has said - in his New Year address last month, for instance - that North Korea is not producing any m re nuclear weapons, he has not yet said what he plans to do with his existing arsenal.

The United States sustained more than 33,000 battle deaths in the Korean War, while the number of NKoreans killed, both military and civilian, has been estimated at about 1-M.

Since that summit, Kim has not taken any verifiable steps toward reducing or dismantling his nuclear arsenal.

The focus of the two-day summit would be whether Washington was willing to ease some of the sanctions, said Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior fellow at South Korea's Sejong Institute.

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"It may be hard to hold (direct) summit talks (with Trump) due to tight schedules, but through a phone conversation, we will closely coordinate our policies over the issues of nuclear weapons, missiles and abductions, the latter of which is the most important for Japan", Abe told an upper house committee, referring to past abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang.

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