Planning for a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump continue, Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday, adding that the meeting will likely take place early next year.
Speaking following a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the ASEAN regional summit in Singapore, the Vice President stressed that many of the details for the next Kim-Trump meeting were still to be ironed out.
“The plans are ongoing,” he reportedly told journalists following the meeting. “We believe that the summit will likely occur after the first of the year but the when and the where of that is still being worked out.”
President Trump said earlier in the month he was hoping to meet with Kim Jong Un in early 2019, though details on the exact date and location for the planned meeting have yet to be revealed.
South Korean President Moon used Thursday’s meeting to call for U.S.-DPRK and DPRK-ROK relations to improve in parallel with each other.
“It is entirely the power of the strong Korea-U.S. alliance that drew North Korea into dialogue and made the current situation possible,” he said, in comments that come amid fears of a growing gap between Seoul and Washington’s positions on the best way to deal with Pyongyang.
“In order to realize lasting peace… inter-Korean relations should move forward together with North-U.S. relations,” he added, stressing his support for a planned second Kim-Trump meeting and his hopes that a fifth inter-Korean summit will take place soon in Seoul.
Pence also used the meeting to ask for the South Korean President to increase his communication with the North Korean leader and to help facilitate further diplomacy, the ROK Blue House said following the talks.
“My understanding is that (Pence) made a request to Moon separately even as talks are under way between the North and the U.S.,” presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said following the meeting, in comments carried by Yonhap.
The Vice President’s comments come on the third day of a six-day visit to Asia – a tour which has so far seen him reiterate the U.S.’s commitment to the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea.
“The sanctions will remain in full force until we achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea,” Pence said following a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.
“The United States, Japan, and the world will accept nothing less.”
Featured image: Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES