WASHINGTON/SEOUL — US President Donald Trump said on Monday he planned to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by early June and hoped the discussions would ultimately lead to an end of the North’s nuclear weapons program.
“We’ll be meeting with them sometime in May or early June and I think there’ll be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully we’ll be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the start of a Cabinet meeting. “Hopefully, it’ll be a relationship that’s much different than it’s been for many, many years.”
Mr. Trump’s comments came just a few hours before North Korea mentioned talks with the United States and South Korea for the first time, as the North’s state media said Kim Jong Un chaired a party meeting on Monday in which he assessed future talks with Washington and his upcoming summit with South Korea on April 27.
“(Kim Jong Un) set forth the strategic and tactical issues to be maintained by the Workers’ Party of Korea including the future policy of international relations and the orientation corresponding to them,” the North’s central news agency said on Tuesday.
Any meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump would come after the two Koreas hold their first summit in more than a decade later this month.
Kim Jong Un as well as high ranking officials from the North have been engaging other countries in a flurry of diplomacy in recent weeks with the North Korean leader making a surprise visit to China last month, talking with President Xi Jinping.
A North Korean delegation led by Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is in Russia this week after a visit to Turkmenistan, the North’s state media said on Tuesday. — Reuters