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Kim Orders Preparations for Second Summit with Trump: North Korea

PYONGYANG – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered preparations for a second summit with US President Donald Trump, saying he will “wait with patience and in good faith” to work toward a common goal, North Korean State media reported Thursday.
Despite Mr. Kim’s determination for another meeting with President Trump, both the leaders remain at odds over fundamental issues.
Experts said a major sticking point was what denuclearization steps Mr Kim should take to move forward stalled nuclear negotiations and what rewards Mr Trump should provide to push the North Korean leader to take those measures.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Mr Kim received a letter from Mr Trump via North Korean envoy who met the US President in Washington last week.
After meeting North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol, Mr Trump said that he and Kim Jong-un would probably meet around the end of February but did not say exactly when and where the summit would take place.
The agency reported that Mr Kim expressed satisfaction with his envoy’s meeting, with the President and spoke highly of Mr Trump for expressing his unusual determination.
“We will wait with patience and in good faith, together with the US, advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries,” Mr Kim was quoted as saying.
Mr Kim also “set forth tasks and orientation for making good technical preparations” for the second summit high on the agenda, according to KCNA.
Nuclear negotiations have been stuck since the two leaders met in Singapore last June for their first summit.
The summit accord further stated that the United States and North Korea would commit to establishing new relations and join efforts to build a lasting and stable peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The strongest step Mr Kim could promise during a second summit may be abandoning his long-range missile program for targeting the US mainland, in return, Mr Kim is seeking to get UN sanctions lifted.
He also wants better relations with the US to try to revive his country’s moribund economy to pave the way for a prolonged rule by his family, experts say.
North Korea observers said Vietnam was likely to be chosen as a venue for a second summit but there had been no official confirmation.
The negotiations have replaced fears of war following a series of North Korean nuclear and missile tests in 2017 that were followed by exchanges of crude insults and threats of total destruction between the two leaders.
Mr Kim has so far suspended nuclear and missile tests, dismantled North Korea’s nuclear testing site and parts of its rocket engine test facility and taken conciliatory measures, like releasing American detainees.
The North now said it was time for the US to come up with reciprocal measures.
But on Tuesday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report detailing that one undeclared missile base could “provide an operational-level nuclear or conventional first strike capability”.
US officials want North Korea to take more significant steps such as a declared accounting of its nuclear weapons program for future inspections.
The North has rejected that, saying such a declaration would be like providing coordinates for US military strikes on its nuclear facilities.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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