Trump says US 'made a lot of progress' with North Korea

Former spy chief Kim Yong-chol with America's chief diplomat Mike Pompeo

Former spy chief Kim Yong-chol with America's chief diplomat Mike Pompeo Credit Reuters

The most recent Oval Office meeting followed 45 minutes of talks between the North Korean envoy and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But on a visit to Beijing last week, he said North Korea would pursue a second summit "to achieve results that will be welcomed by the global community", according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. "With North Korea, we have a very good dialogue", he said January 6, adding that it's "very special" and that with "anybody else but me, you'd be in war right now".

"We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearisation is concerned and we are talking about a lot of different things". In 2017, a U.S. student returned home comatose from North Korea and died within days after what a United States judge said was torture.

There has been speculation that a second meeting could be take place in Vietnam.

But a Missile Defense Review the Pentagon released earlier this week called North Korea "an extraordinary threat."

The State Department said that Stephen Biegun, the USA special representative on North Korea, would carry on discussions at a conference in Sweden starting on Saturday that will involve Pyongyang officials.

The two leaders' first summit, in Singapore last June, produced a vague commitment by Kim Jong-un to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but he has yet to take what Washington sees as concrete steps in that direction.

Shortly after the White House meeting, Sanders was pressed by reporters on why the United States should believe North Korean promises regarding denuclearization.

The special US envoy for North Korea negotiations, Steve Biegun, planned to travel to Sweden for further talks over the weekend.

The North has made no secret of its bio-weapon programme, with state media in 2015 showing images of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, touring a biological plant.

Sanders told reporters outside the White House Friday that the USA will continue to put pressure in the form of sanctions on North Korea, and insisted progress has been made.

But the denuclearization talks have been at an impasse, with the North calling for sanctions relief and corresponding measures by the United States for the denuclearization steps that it has taken so far, such as the dismantling of a nuclear test site.

Earlier this month, Mr Trump said that the USA and North Korea were negotiating over a location for another summit but U.S. officials have not provided any further details. I think there is obviously still disagreement on how to get there - whether denuclearization is the end of the process or the process itself, ' said Jenny Town, managing editor of the 38 North web journal on North Korea policy at the Stimson Center.

Bill Richardson, the former USA ambassador to the United Nations and North Korea emissary, told Sky News he was "sceptical" about the second summit.

On his last visit to Washington in June, Mr. Kim Yong Chol delivered a letter from Mr. Kim Jong Un to Mr. Trump that helped overcome obstacles ahead of the summit in Singapore.

Kim Jong Un expressed frustration in an annual New Year's address over the lack of progress in negotiations.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui earlier arrived in the Swedish capital from Beijing to attend the forum.

But allies of the president welcomed the announcement of a second summit for now.

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