|In this file photo taken on June 12, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un at the start of their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, Singapore. AFP|
U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he expects to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at some point later this year.
At the White House, Trump was asked by reporters if he plans to meet Kim this year and whether he has a new proposal for denuclearization negotiations with Pyongyang.
"At some point, yes," Trump said of the potential meeting. "Certainly, (the North Koreans) want to meet. They'd like to meet. I think it's something that will happen. And we'll see, but Kim Jong-un ― I think something can happen."
Trump and Kim have had three meetings since June 2018 to negotiate the North's denuclearization in exchange for U.S. sanctions relief and security guarantees.
But talks have stalled since Trump and Kim's second summit in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.
On Monday the North's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said her country would be willing to resume talks in late September but demanded a new proposal acceptable to Pyongyang.
"Well, we're gonna see," Trump said. "I think that North Korea would like to meet. I think you probably have heard that."
At a State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus made clear that the U.S. will stick to its demands for North Korea's final and fully verified denuclearization.
"I would just reiterate that our goal has not changed and will not change for North Korea, and that is a denuclearized North Korea," she said. "We're committed to those negotiations, but no matter what negotiations and talks we have, the goal still will remain the same."
This week's departure of the hawkish John Bolton as U.S. national security adviser has raised hopes for a quick resumption of the denuclearization talks.
Speaking to reporters about Bolton's exit on Wednesday, Trump said the former adviser's calls for North Korea to follow the "Libya model" and unilaterally hand over its nuclear weapons had "set us back."
"We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model," Trump said. "And he made a mistake. And as soon as he mentioned that, the 'Libyan model,' what a disaster." (Yonhap)