President Trump will meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un this week in Vietnam, as he attempts to get Pyongyang to move toward what has been an elusive goal: complete denuclearization.
Trump has maintained that his ultimate goal is to get Kim to relinquish the regime’s nuclear program. But, in the lead up to this second summit, he has repeatedly stressed that he’s not setting a deadline for North Korea to act.
“I think a lot can come from it — at least, I hope so — the denuclearization, ultimately. I’m in no particular rush. The sanctions are on, the relationships are very strong, and a lot of good things have happened,” Trump said at a White House event last week.
This was not always the case. After Trump’s historic meeting with Kim in June 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo floated a goal of getting North Korea to give up its weapons by January 2021.
Trump put a stop to that talk, however. In September of last year, Trump told reporters that he had directed Pompeo to not “get into the time game.”
“If it takes two years, three years, or five months, it doesn’t matter. There’s no nuclear testing and there’s not testing of rockets,” Trump said.
Despite Trump’s insistence that he’s not in a hurry, administration officials say he’s urged his negotiators to try to get North Korea to agree to concrete steps.
The administration has offered few details ahead of the summit, which officially takes place Feb. 27 and 28, but the format will be similar to the talks held in Singapore in June 2018.
Trump and Kim are expected to meet with each other one-on-one and to participate in sessions with expanded bilateral delegations. (by Ayesha Rascoe / npr.org)