U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration is planning a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and will announce details soon.
“I’ll be meeting with Chairman Kim in the very near future,”Trump told reporters at the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York.
Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is planning the summit and that it may take place after October. Pompeo will brief U.N. Security Council ministers Thursday on efforts to denuclearize North Korea.
“We’re working diligently to make sure we get the conditions right so that we can accomplish as much as possible during the summit. But we hope it will be soon,” Pompeo told CBS This Morning. “It may happen in October, but more likely sometime after that.”
At a news conference in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly meetings, President Trump refused to get pinned down on a timeline for North Korea’s denuclearization.
“We are not playing the time game,” Trump said. “If it takes two years, three years or five months it doesn’t matter, there’s no nuclear testing and there’s no testing of rockets.”
Trump also dismissed critics who have said he gave up leverage by meeting with Kim before getting any guarantees.
“I gave nothing, what have I given, other than some time? Yes, I flew to Singapore, we had a meeting,” the president said. “Giving would be if I took the sanctions off.” He also defended his decision to suspend last August’s scheduled joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, saying he had saved U.S. taxpayers “a fortune.” North Korea says the drills are a hostile provocation.
President Trump also asserted, without any evidence, that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, was “ready to go to war” over the North Korean nuclear problem.
“If I wasn’t elected you would have had a war,” Trump claimed. “President Obama thought you had to go to war. Do you know how close he was to pressing the trigger for war?”
Trump also said he had received two “magnificent” letters from Kim Jong Un about his commitment to denuclearization.
Earlier Wednesday, President Trump chaired a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, as the U.S. currently holds the rotating presidency. The topic was non-proliferation and he spoke about progress on the North Korean issue.
“I think we will make a deal,” he told a table of presidents and prime ministers. “But unfortunately to ensure this progress continues, we must enforce existing U.N. Security Council resolutions until the denuclearization occurs.”
He said many things are happening “behind the scenes” in a “very positive way.” He thanked the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea for the role they have played in the process. Of the North Korean leader, he said he is a man that he has “gotten to know and like” who wants peace and prosperity for his country.
The two leaders’ meeting in Singapore in June produced a broad commitment from Kim to “work toward” denuclearization of the peninsula.
Despite Trump’s praise of Kim, the Trump administration has said Pyongyang is stalling in meeting the goals set in Singapore. Washington has demanded that North Korea produce an inventory of its weapons programs and that it takes irreversible steps to relinquish a nuclear arsenal that poses a potential threat to the United States.