Washington (April 18, 2018): United States officials have held direct talks with North Korea on setting up a historic summit with its leader, President Donald Trump has announced.
“We have had direct talks at… extremely high levels,” Donald Trump said, adding that five locations are being considered for his widely anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.Speaking amid talks with his skeptical Japanese counterpart, Trump said that “very high levels” of discussion between Washington and Pyongyang are already underway.
“We have had direct talks,” Trump said alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “I really believe there’s a lot of goodwill. We’ll see what happens, as I always say. Because ultimately it’s the end result that counts.”
It was a dramatic opening to a two-day summit with Abe where North Korea will dominate the agenda. Both men hope the summit can smooth over differences on that issue as well as trade.However, US officials have floated several possible venues over the past month, including: the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar; the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea; a neutral European capital like Stockholm or Geneva; a location at sea like Jeju island or a ship; Southeast Asia, including possibly Singapore or Malaysia; the South Korean capital Seoul; or the North Korean capital Pyongyang, a seemingly unlikely choice that no US official has yet ruled out.During his remarks, Trump also said that he’d given his “blessing” to North and South Korea ahead of anticipated talks over concluding the Korean War, which technically never ended even after hostilities ceased more than six decades ago. “People don’t realize the Korean War has not ended. It’s going on right now,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments on North Korea occurred inside his ornate, gold-leafed ballroom at Mar-a-Lago. It’s the second time Trump has welcomed Abe to his Florida club, and the two men plan to “sneak out,” as Trump put it to reporters, for a round of golf Wednesday.