By Isabel Togoh
US President Donald Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, the White House has confirmed.
The announcement followed a meeting between Pyongyang’s top nuclear negotiator Kim Yong Chol, a hardline former spy chief.
The meeting marks a sign of movement in denuclearization efforts that have stalled since a landmark meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader in Singapore last year.
Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman, said: “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.
President @realDonaldTrump looks forward to a second summit with Chairman Kim, which will take place near the end of February. Location will be announced at a later date.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 18, 2019
“The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date.”
Despite the summit announcement, there has been no indication of any progress over US demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States, or over Pyongyang’s demand for a lifting of punishing sanctions.
Trump declared after the Singapore summit in June that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was over. But hours before Kim Yong Chol’s arrival, Trump unveiled a revamped US missile defence strategy that singled out the country as an ongoing and “extraordinary threat.”
The first summit resulted in a vague commitment by Kim to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
But he has yet to take what Washington sees as concrete steps in that direction.
Communist-ruled Vietnam, which has good relations with both the United States and North Korea, is widely tipped to host the next summit, although a venue has not been formally announced.