US President Donald Trump held out the prospect of inviting North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to the White House if a summit between the two leaders next week in Singapore goes well, Reuters reports.
At a news conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington, Trump also repeated what he said last week that it is possible he and Kim could sign an agreement to end the 1950-53 Korean War, which was concluded only with a truce, not a peace treaty, the report said.
“We could sign an agreement, as you know that would be a first step … We’re looking at it, we’re talking about it with a lot of other people,” Trump said. “That’s probably the easy part. The hard part remains after that.”
Trump added that he hopes someday US relations with Kim’s government could be normalized.
The main issue for the June 12 summit in Singapore is the US demand for North Korea to abandon a nuclear weapons program.
North Korea has rejected giving up its arsenal unilaterally and defends its nuclear and missile programs as a deterrent against what it sees as US aggression.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday reemphasized Washington’s stance going into the talks.
Pompeo said Trump will reject anything short of “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Speaking at a White House briefing after the Trump-Abe news conference, Pompeo said the US will work to guarantee North Korea’s security should it denuclearize.
Trump “is prepared to ensure a DPRK free of its weapons of mass destruction is also a secure North Korea,” Pompeo said.
Trump told reporters on Thursday he would quit the talks if he felt he must, and would ramp up US sanctions pressure on North Korea if the talks did not go well.
“I am totally prepared to walk away,” he said.
On the other hand, Trump said he might extend an invitation to Kim to Washington.
“Certainly if it goes well. I think it would be well received,” he said in answer to a question. “I think he would look at it very favorably so I think that could happen.”
Pompeo, who has twice met with Kim in Pyongyang, said he believes the North Korean leader is prepared to take “bold” steps to alter the course of his nation.
Asked whether the two sides had narrowed their differences on how they defined denuclearization, Pompeo said they had, without going into details.
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