Trump says weighing several options for meeting with Kim Jong Un

Trump says weighing several options for meeting with Kim Jong Un

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Thursday (Apr 26) that three or four possible dates were being considered for his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The American leader had previously mentioned late May or early June for the highly anticipated meeting, within weeks of Friday's historic inter-Korean summit.

"We have a decision to be made. We have three or four dates. That includes five locations. That will be narrowed down," Trump said on Fox News.

He did not reveal any of the possible locations, but a report by JoongAng Ilbo on Tuesday said that Mongolia and Singapore are on the shortlist. 

“European countries such as Switzerland and Sweden were mentioned up until now, but they have been excluded because it was determined to be difficult for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to physically get there,” said the South Korean daily, quoting a government source.

"North Korea has the notion that Mongolia is a friendly country," said the source. 

“The US government had excluded countries with personal interests from the list of candidates, including South Korea, Japan and China, and
afterward looked for Southeast Asian countries that simultaneously met various conditions, which is why Singapore was selected," the source added. 

The Korean peninsula has seen a dramatic diplomatic detente, with the nuclear-armed North last week announcing a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.

Asked about his expectations for the meeting with the man he has called "Rocket Man", the American president was unclear.

"Could be I walk out quickly with respect or could be maybe even the meeting won't take place, who knows?" Trump said.

"But I can tell you right now they want to meet."

The president said his administration's diplomatic gains defied expectations of conflict with North Korea.

"I can only say this - when I came into office, people thought we were going into nuclear war, okay? And now they're saying, 'Wow, looks like this will be taken care of,'" he said.

Trump noted that during his recent, secret, visit to North Korea, CIA chief Mike Pompeo was not initially scheduled to meet with Kim.

"We have incredible pictures of the two talking and meeting, which I would love to release if we can," Trump said.

"It was more than hello. They got along. They were with each other more than an hour. They spoke. He also spoke with his counterparts in North Korea. They had a great meeting."

Pompeo faced a Senate confirmation vote later on Thursday to replaced Rex Tillerson, who was sacked as secretary of state.

Source: AFP/CNA/gs