WASHINGTON D.C., Feb 20, 2019, Kyodo. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is in “no rush” to denuclearize North Korea as long as the country continues to suspend nuclear and missile tests, reported the Kyodo News.
The comment suggests Trump may not call for a denuclearization road map with a specific timeline during his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi.
Trump said he will speak with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the phone on Wednesday. Abe is expected to ask Trump to push Kim not only to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs but also to resolve the issue of its abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said ridding North Korea of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is his administration’s ultimate goal, and that he will maintain sanctions on Pyongyang to achieve that goal.
“As long as there’s no testing, I’m in no rush,” he said. “I’d like to see, ultimately, denuclearization of North Korea…I have no pressing time schedule.”
In a related move, the State Department said Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea, is traveling to the Vietnamese capital on Tuesday to prepare for the upcoming summit.
Biegun is expected to hold talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol, apparently on ways to get Pyongyang to take concrete denuclearization steps in exchange for corresponding measures from Washington.
The first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit, held in Singapore in June last year, resulted in a vague denuclearization agreement in which Kim promised to work toward “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while Trump committed to providing security guarantees to Pyongyang.
The two sides have shown few signs of reconciling their differences, however, with the United States demanding that North Korea dismantle its arsenal with international verification and Pyongyang calling for a lifting of sanctions.