WASHINGTON – The prospects of renewed nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea will be on the table next month when the president of South Korea visits the White House.
President Donald Trump will meet with South Korea counterpart Moon Jae-in on April 11 to discuss trade, military cooperation, and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the White House said late Thursday.
“The alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea remains the linchpin of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region,” said a White House statement on the meeting.
The fate of North Korea’s nuclear weapons – and an agreement to dismantle them – remains uncertain after the collapse of the February summit meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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Kim wants the United States to end economic sanctions on North Korea before it commits to specific plans to dismantle nuclear weapons programs. The United States wants to see some specific plans before ending sanctions.
Unable to agree on the details of an agreement, Trump and Kim cut short their summit in Vietnam on Feb. 28.
The White House has signaled it is still interested in talking. Last week, Trump appeared to overrule his Treasury Department and killed new sanctions aimed at North Korea in a move the White House sought to cast as an act of good faith.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Kim, while disputing Trump’s account of the Vietnam summit, has said he remains committed to denuclearization.
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Some U.S. intelligence analysts are skeptical, however, saying nuclear weapons are essential to Kim’s control of his dictatorship.
Moon, the South Korea president, has backed past talks between Trump and Kim and has said he wants to revive the denuclearization negotiations.
When they meet April 11, Trump and Moon will hold “deep consultations with the aim of further strengthening the South Korea-United States alliance and building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization,” Moon’s office said in a statement.