Press TV – US President Donald Trump says an agreement is “very much in the making” with regard to resolving the existing dispute over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined,” Trump tweeted on Friday.
The remarks came hours after the White House announced that the US president would not meet the North Korean leader if Pyongyang does not adopt “concrete steps.”
“The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions take place by North Korea, so the president will actually be getting something,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a news conference on Friday.
Sanders did not specify what actions Washington expects Pyongyang to take, but a White House official later said the US does not intend to set new conditions for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
‘Don’t give legitimacy to North Korea’
Meanwhile, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner called on the White House to have calculated plans for any possible talks with the North Korean leader.
“The administration must go into any meeting with a plan to ensure that negotiations with Kim Jong-un produce real results, not a photo op that lends legitimacy” to North Korea, Warner said in a statement.
On Thursday, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong, who was in Washington to hold talks with US officials on the North Korean nuclear crisis, said Trump had expressed willingness to sit down with Kim “as soon as possible.”
Chung, who had paid a visit to Pyongyang earlier this week, said he had passed on a message to Trump that Kim was “committed to demilitarization” and had “pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests” if its security is guaranteed.
The summit would be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president. Trump and Kim have repeatedly traded insults and threats of military attacks that raised fears of war between the two countries in recent months.
No venue or date has been announced for the summit, which is expected to be held in May, but Switzerland has expressed preparedness to facilitate the meeting.
The unexpected announcement has been welcomed by regional powers China and Russia as well as South Korea.
Tensions have been high between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
Washington claims it prefers a diplomatic solution to crisis, but it has repeatedly threatened Pyongyang with military action.
After months of soaring tensions between the US and the North, temperatures cooled dramatically as South Korea hosted the Winter Olympics.
South Korea used the recently-held Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as a major opportunity to open the doors for dialogue with the North.
The games in fact came amid some unprecedented escalation of hostilities between the North on one side and the United States and allies in Asia on the other. There was even a risk of an all-out nuclear confrontation in the region late last year when Pyongyang carried out a series of massive nuclear and missile tests.
North and South Korea have been separated by a heavily-militarized border since the three-year Korean War came to an end in 1953. The conflict ended with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty and left many families separated at the two sides.
North Korea, for its part, says its nuclear arsenal is a deterrent against potential US aggression.