U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore.
(photo credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/POOL VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump will meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at the end of February at a place to be announced later, the White House said on Friday.
"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. The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date," White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
The visit of Kim Yong Chol, Pyongyang’s lead negotiator with the United States, marked a rare sign of potential movement in a denuclearization effort that has stalled since a landmark meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
in Singapore in June of last year. At that summit, Trump and Kim Jong Un met in person and shook hands, the first time ever for leaders of the two nations.
The meeting comes after Kim Yong Chol held talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amid a diplomatic flurry aimed at laying the groundwork for a second US-North Korea summit.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, had "a good discussion" with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol on efforts to make progress on commitments made by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a summit last June, the State Department said.
Kim Yong Chol and Pompeo posed together for photographs at a Washington hotel before holding about 45 minutes of talks that could determine whether the two sides can make headway. There has been no indication of any narrowing of differences 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.
Hours before Kim Yong Chol's arrival on Thursday, Trump - who declared after the Singapore summit in June that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was over - unveiled a revamped US missile defense strategy that singled out the country as an ongoing and "extraordinary threat."
The State Department issued the statement after the US officials held a meeting with Kim Yong Chol in Washington aimed at clearing the way for a second summit between Trump and the North Korean leader.
Negotiations as seen from Israel and Iran
Israel has been watching the American negotiations with North Korea very closely, because of the implications they carry for the US standing vis-a-vis Iran.
In November of 2018, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the outcome of American efforts to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program will have an “enormous impact” on Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons in the coming decade.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, Steinitz told an audience of international envoys that what happens between the United States and North Korea is extremely relevant to the Middle East’s nuclear future.
“Once North Korea really dismantles its nuclear infrastructure, the pressure within Iran to capitulate will be enormous,” said security cabinet member Steinitz.
“On the other hand, if North Korea manages to preserve its nuclear arsenal, pressure on the Iranians to proceed to develop nuclear weapons will be enormous,” he said.
Eytan Halon contributed to this report.
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