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Jacob Fromer is NK News's Washington DC correspondent. He previously worked in the U.S. Senate.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that talks between the U.S. and North Korea will take place soon, while declining to directly comment on reports earlier in the day that the DPRK had tested a new-type submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump said that Pyongyang wants a dialogue with the U.S., and that the Americans are planning to meet with them.
Asked whether the DPRK had gone “too far” with its recent missile launch — widely believed to be its longest-range test in over a year — Trump did not directly comment.
“We’ll see,” he said. “They want to talk and we’ll be talking to them soon. We’ll see.”
The expected location of the meetings was first reported by NK News on Wednesday.
Trump’s comments were his first public remarks on the widely-anticipated working-level talks since reports emerged earlier this week that the negotiations had been scheduled.
They also came just days after North Korea test-fired a new missile from a submarine.
State media on Thursday hailed the missile launch as a success, calling it a “new type” of weapon and emphasizing the “self-defensive national defense capabilities” of the new SLBM.
The U.S. State Department in the wake of that test the previous day urged North Korea to refrain from “provocations,” calling on Pyongyang to “abide by their obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, and remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Air Force also test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the Pacific Ocean.
In an announcement released after the launch, the Air Force said that the test was “not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions.”
Despite the ongoing tensions between the two nations, both nations appear to be proceeding as though the meetings will happen on schedule.
Before departing for Sweden, DPRK negotiator Kim told reporters in Beijing that he was feeling positive about the talks, according to South Korea’s Yonhap New Agency.
“As the U.S. side sent a new signal, I bear high expectations and optimism, and I am also optimistic about the results,” he reportedly said.
The working-level talks would be the first formal nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and DPRK since February’s summit in Hanoi ended without a deal.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour