Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un’s nuclear summit in February as UN issues plea

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un’s nuclear summit in February as UN issues plea

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un will hold a summit “near the end of February,” the White House said Friday, without specifying the location.

“The president looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Her remarks came as top North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol was in Washington for talks with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prepare a second summit, probably in Vietnam.

The new summit to discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearisation will follow a first meeting held in Singapore in June 2018.

The news comes as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the United States and North Korea to agree on a road map for serious negotiations on scrapping Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic weapons.

“We believe it’s high time to make sure that the negotiations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea start again seriously and that a road map is clearly defined for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” Guterres told a news conference.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a historic summit in June in Singapore — the first ever between the two countries — where they signed a vaguely worded denuclearisation deal.

But there has been no progress made since then, with both sides disagreeing over what was signed in Singapore.

Asked about a possible easing of sanctions, Guterres said he would not “advocate for any anticipation of other measures before a clear negotiation is put in place” but added that “the two things will be inevitably interlinked.”

The United States has insisted that “maximum pressure” from a raft of tough sanctions imposed on North Korea by the Security Council must remain in place until Pyongyang has fully scrapped its nuclear and ballistic missiles program.

But North Korea insists that easing sanctions would build trust along the way to denuclearisation — a stance that has won support from China and Russia.

Guterres also said humanitarian aid to North Korea should not be held hostage to political considerations.

The United States this month agreed to begin lifting a hold on several requests to the UN sanctions committee from aid agencies for exemptions that would allow them to ship goods needed for relief work in North Korea.

“We should never refuse humanitarian aid to any country in any circumstance, for the people of that country,” said Guterres.

The UN chief said the United Nations would not seek to play a bigger role in efforts to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, leaving the diplomacy firmly in the hands of Washington and Pyongyang.

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