Washington: President Donald Trump on Thursday played down the chances of a quick breakthrough in talks with North Korea about its nuclear arsenal, as the top U.S. diplomat and a senior official from Pyongyang wrapped up two days of negotiations.
Trump, in a brief interview with Reuters aboard Air Force One on the way to Texas, said he was still hoping to hold an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore.
“I’d like to see it done in one meeting,” he said. “But often times that’s not the way deals work. There’s a very good chance that it won’t be done in one meeting or two meetings or three meetings. But it’ll get done at some point.”
It was not clear if Trump meant he would need a second summit with Kim to reach the U.S. goal of persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms, or if he believed more lower-level talks were needed.
“The meetings went well. They made progress,” a senior U.S. State Department official said.
Trump said the North Korean envoy would be coming most likely on Friday to the White House to present him with a letter from Kim Jong Un.
North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions have been a source of world tension for decades, has made advances in missile technology in recent years but Trump has sworn not to allow it to develop nuclear missiles that could hit the United States.
He wants North Korea to “denuclearize,” meaning to get rid of its nuclear arms, but the leadership in Pyongyang is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.