UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – US President Donald Trump said he planned to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May or early June and hoped the talks would bring an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“We will meet them sometime in May or early June, and I think there will be great respect from both sides,” Trump told reporters at the start of a cabinet meeting on Monday. We hope that we will be able to reach an agreement to disarm North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.”
“They said that, and we said that … we hope it will be a very different relationship from what it has been for many, many years.”
Trump’s remarks came hours before North Korea made its first mention of talks with the United States and South Korea, while North Korean media said Kim Jong-un headed a party meeting on Monday in which he assessed future talks with Washington and his next summit with South Korea on April 27.
A US official told Reuters on Sunday that North Korea had informed the United States of its willingness to discuss nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula when Kim meets Trump.
US and North Korean officials recently held secret talks in which Pyongyang directly confirmed its willingness to hold the unprecedented summit, he said, asking not to be named.
The communications are still in their initial stages, with officials from the US State Department and North Korea taking part, apparently through the UN mission, and intelligence officials from both sides are using a separate communication channel, the official said. Washington relied primarily on South Korea’s assertions about Kim’s intentions.