Trump Defends North Korea Progress as Second Kim Summit Edges Closer

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, noting that they have yielded steps toward denuclearization, ahead of a potential second summit for which he sees “much potential” for progress, Politico informs.

“The Fake News Media loves saying ‘so little happened at my first summit with Kim Jong Un’. Wrong!” he wrote in a pair of tweets, listing off accomplishments like sustained diplomatic relations with the isolated nation.

Trump credited his first summit with pulling the U.S. back from the brink of a “major war” with North Korea – a prospect at times egged on by Trump — as well as negotiating the return of U.S. prisoners who had been held by North Korea and the remains of Korean War veterans.

The President also praised North Korea for pausing its nuclear and missile tests: “no more Rockets or M’s being fired over Japan or anywhere else and, most importantly, no Nuclear Testing.”

“This is more than has ever been accomplished with North Korea, and the Fake News knows it. I expect another good meeting soon, much potential!” he claimed.

The White House announced last week that Trump would hold a second summit with Kim near the end of February, and said the location would be disclosed at a later date. In the meantime, a think tank report released Monday revealed another undeclared missile site, one of 20, it said.

Meanwhile, Kim himself spoke highly of Trump, state media said on Thursday, and expressed satisfaction over the results of talks between officials from both countries about a second summit between them, Reuters writes.

Kim said he would trust Trump’s approach, the North’s official KCNA news agency said, weeks after Kim warned North Korea could seek a “new path” if U.S. sanctions and pressure continued. That suggested Kim was focused on the next meeting with Trump to produce results.

“Kim Jong-un said that we will believe in President Trump’s positive way of thinking, wait with patience and in good faith and, together with the U.S., advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries,” KCNA said.

It said Kim expressed “large satisfaction” at receiving a “great” letter from Trump and a briefing about the results of the negotiations from the North Korean delegation that visited Washington last week but did not elaborate.

Kim ordered working-level preparations for the second North Korea-U.S. summit to be done well, KCNA said. The White House said last week a second Trump-Kim summit would be held in late February but did not say where.

That follows their landmark first summit in Singapore last June, which produced a promise to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Progress since then has been patchy.

Kim has indicated to South Korean President Moon Jae-in he would undertake a “groundbreaking” denuclearization measure, South Korean newspaper DongA Ilbo reported on Thursday.

The newspaper, citing an unidentified source with direct knowledge of the U.S.-North Korea situation, said the same had been made clear to Trump during senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol’s Washington visit last week.

North Korea has reportedly hinted at the possibility of agreeing to the U.S. demand for verification of denuclearization efforts before it discards its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, Reuters adds.

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