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News > World

Trump: North Korea Could Be a 'Tremendous Economic Power'

  • A second Trump-Kim summit that is scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam.

    A second Trump-Kim summit that is scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 20 February 2019

“I’m in no rush. There’s no testing. As long as there is no testing, I’m in no rush. If there’s testing, that’s another deal,” Trump said Tuesday.

Ahead of next week’s second summit with North Korea, United States President Donald Trump has declared that Washington is not currently focused on a deadline or definitive schedule for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim, Trump Prepare for Second Summit in Vietnam

“I’m in no rush. There’s no testing. As long as there is no testing, I’m in no rush. If there’s testing, that’s another deal,” Trump said Tuesday in a press briefing to announce that Washington has dispatched a special envoy to finalize preparations ahead of the summit with  Kim [Jong-un]. “I’d just like to see ultimately denuclearization of North Korea.”

However, last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a contrasting remark that it was “time for him [Kim] to deliver.”

But, now Trump has seemingly adopted a softer tone, which mirrors Pyongyang’s requests.

"I look forward to being with Chairman Kim and I think a lot of things will come out of it," Trump said. "We had a tremendous first summit — it was really breaking the ice, but a lot of things came from that, including good relationships."

Trump further commented: "I really believe that North Korea can be a tremendous economic power when this is solved. Their location between Russia, China and South Korea is unbelievable. I think that North Korea and Chairman Kim have some very positive things in mind. And we'll soon find out. As long as there's no testing, I'm in no rush. If there's testing, that's another deal."

The U.S. president, during the address at the White House, also noted that Pyongyang has muted nuclear and missile testing since 2017, but added that Washington will maintain the sanctions that are currently in place, for now.

“We’ve been clear on sanctions. These are the world’s sanctions and that is something that... will continue to be maintained until we’ve achieved our final result of a fully, finally verified denuclearization,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino explained, also adding “I don’t want to get ahead of diplomatic conversations, or ahead of the president. A lot of things are being discussed and we are very much looking forward to next week” regarding the official declaration of the 1950-53 Korean War.

But, last Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, less cautiously, that the United States aimed to “get as far down the road as we can” with North Korea in the next two weeks, adding that “it’s (the Korean War) something we’ve had a lot of talks about.” 

Pompeo added Trump and Kim will focus on the “denuclearization pillar they agreed to” in the first summit as well as to reduce tension and military risk “so we can get peace and security on the peninsula as well.”

United States special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is charged with continuing the preparations for the Trump-Kim upcoming summit that is scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam, the U.S. State Department said. 

The special representative will hold meetings with counterpart Kim Hyok Chol. 

Biegun previously spent three days in North Korea, from Feb. 6-8, reports said, to address “concrete deliverables” for the upcoming meeting.

Trump discussed the upcoming summit during a phone call with South Korea President Moon Jae-in and will speak to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday.

Moon’s spokesperson noted Trump’s “leadership and firm resolve” but said Seoul is eager to reconnect rail and road links between the two Koreas and broker denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

“We’re determined to take up that role if President Trump asks, if that’s the way to lessen the U.S. burden.”

Trump and Kim first held talks in Singapore in June 2018.

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