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(5th LD) Trump, Kim to hold 2nd summit near end of Feb.: White House

All Headlines 05:00 January 19, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with summit announcement, State Department statement; CHANGES headline)
By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will hold a second summit near the end of February at a location to be announced at a later date, the White House said Friday.

Trump and a top North Korean official met at the White House to finalize details of a potential summit on dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program.

"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," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date."

Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, earlier met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Dupont Circle Hotel, about 10 blocks north of the White House, where the visiting delegation is staying.

He is a close aide to the North Korean leader.

Pompeo, Kim, and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun posed for photographs before going into their meeting but did not respond to reporters' questions.

The State Department said later that the three had a "good discussion" on "efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore."

This AP photo shows a meeting between Kim Yong-chol (L), vice chairman of the central committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington on Jan. 18, 2019. (Yonhap)

A second summit would seek to break an impasse in negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Trump and Kim held their first meeting in Singapore in June and agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees for the regime.

The North insists the deal calls for sanctions relief and other corresponding U.S. measures for the denuclearization steps it has taken so far, including its dismantling of a nuclear testing site.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the North has yet to take "concrete steps" toward dismantling its nuclear weapons.

Reuters reported that U.S. and North Korean officials are also currently holding talks in Sweden, led by Biegun's counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui.

It's unclear if and when Biegun will join the talks in Sweden.

The last time Kim Yong-chol and Pompeo were scheduled to meet, in New York in November, the State Department abruptly announced the meeting's postponement at a day's notice, reportedly at the North's request.

Kim arrived in the U.S. capital Thursday evening and is expected to return to Pyongyang via Beijing on Saturday.

It's the first time that a North Korean government official has flown directly into the U.S. capital without a stopover in another U.S. city.

The last senior North Korean official to stay in Washington overnight was the late Vice Marshal Jo Myong-rok, who visited Washington in October 2000 and met with then U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The two countries fought each other in the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, and have no diplomatic relations with each other.

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

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