U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he wouldn’t meet with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un during his upcoming visit to Asia and the G20, though said he may speak with Kim in a “different form”.
Trump made the comments just before leaving U.S. soil headed for Japan, with the G20 set to start on Friday in Osaka.
The U.S. President is also scheduled to visit South Korea following the forum, where he will hold a summit with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.
“I’ll be meeting with … a lot of other people, not quite (Kim Jong Un), but I may be speaking to him in a different form,” Trump told reporters before he left the White House, though did not elaborate further.
“I’ll be going to South Korea after G20 and I’ll be there for about a day, we have a lot of meetings planned with a lot of different countries.”
The White House declined to comment on how Trump may communicate with Kim during the visit.
In addition to meeting with Moon, Trump also has talks lined up with other world leaders including Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin announced on Wednesday that Trump and Putin will meet on Friday to discuss “regional stability issues,” with North Korea also likely to factor in the discussions.
Ahead of what is likely to busy a week in North Korea diplomacy, Moon also said on Wednesday that Washington and Pyongyang were discussing a possible third summit.
“Both sides have been engaged in dialogue in regard to a third summit,” the South Korean President said in a joint interview with six news agencies.
“It’s noteworthy that the behind-the-scenes talks have been preceded by the mutual understanding of each other’s position gained through the Hanoi summit.”
The U.S. Department of State on Wednesday fell short of confirming the talks, though said Washington continued to work towards the goal North Korea’s denuclearization.
“The United States remains ready to engage in constructive discussions with North Korea to make progress simultaneously and in parallel towards these goals and we continue to invite our counterparts for negotiations,” a State Department spokesperson told NK News.
“As President Moon and President Trump have discussed, our mutual goal is the final fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore.”
But the State Department also reiterated Washington’s policy on sanctions, saying they will remain in place “before that time.”
“We remain ready to engage with the DPRK to make progress simultaneously and in parallel on all of the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim made in Singapore,” a State Department spokesperson added.
Despite the positive momentum going into the G20 Summit, Pyongyang on Wednesday criticized the one-year extension of a number of unilateral sanctions measures against Pyongyang.
The article from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also called recent comments from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the resumption of working-level talks “reckless”.