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Trump does not want another summit with Kim before election: CNN

All News 01:24 February 11, 2020

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump told his advisers that he does not want another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before the November presidential election, CNN quoted two sources as saying Monday.

The report comes as denuclearization negotiations between the two countries have stalled since the unfruitful second summit between Trump and Kim in February 2019.

"And as Trump focuses on his re-election campaign his appetite to engage on the issue has waned," CNN reported, citing the sources.

Members of Trump's reelection campaign also do not believe North Korea is a crucial factor in the vote, it said.

One official familiar with the Trump administration's efforts with North Korea told CNN that the negotiations are now "dead." An official added there is little appetite within the president's inner circle to pursue a denuclearization deal with North Korea before the election, with the risks of restarting talks greatly outweighing the potential benefits.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) stands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before they hold talks at the Freedom House on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, on June 30, 2019. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, North Korea appears uninterested in resuming negotiations unless Trump offers sanctions relief in advance, which is unlikely to happen, according to the official.

Trump and Kim had agreed at their first summit in June 2018 to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for U.S. security guarantees.

The second summit broke down after the U.S. rejected the North's offer for partial denuclearization in return for significant sanctions relief.

The leaders met a third time in the Demilitarized Zone on the inter-Korean border in June 2019, and agreed to restart working-level negotiations within weeks.

The working-level meeting that followed, in Sweden in October, also collapsed without much progress. Trump expressed his frustration at the time, sources told CNN.

Still, Stephen Biegun, the U.S. deputy secretary of state and top negotiator for North Korea's denuclearization, is "constantly trying to reignite talks," one person familiar with the efforts told CNN.

A source added that U.S. officials working on the portfolio are aware that Trump does not want another meeting with Kim unless there is a deal to be signed.

Trump made no mention of North Korea in his third State of the Union address last week.

At his first address, he invited a North Korean defector to highlight the regime's human rights abuses. And during his second address, he announced the dates of his upcoming second summit with Kim.


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