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US, North Korean Envoys to Meet Again Before Second Trump-Kim Summit

 
 

Following a meeting last week, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol, the special representative for U.S. Affairs of North Korea’s State Affairs Commission, before a second U.S.-North Korea summit.

According to a spokesperson at South Korea’s presidential office, the meeting will take place sometime “in the week beginning Feb. 17 in a third nation in Asia.”

The upcoming summit will be the second meeting between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un since their first historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018. The summit will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28.

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“My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un,” Trump said in a tweet on Friday, as Biegun wrapped up discussions in Pyongyang. “It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!”

“Special Representative Biegun and Special Representative Kim discussed advancing President Trump and Chairman Kim’s Singapore summit commitments of complete denuclearization, transforming U.S.-D.P.R.K. relations, and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” a U.S. State Department release noted after Biegun’s visit to Pyongyang.

“Special Representative Biegun and Special Representative Kim agreed to meet again in advance of President Trump and Chairman Kim’s second summit,” the State Department confirmed. It’s unclear what exactly the outcome of Biegun’s trip to Pyongyang might have been beyond agreement that the upcoming summit should take place in the Vietnamese capital.

“I would say it was a productive set of discussions over the last few days, and our team engaged on a number of areas of mutual interest, and we’ve agreed to meet again,” Biegun said following his meetings in Pyongyang. “So I think this is a constructive place to be especially in advance of the president’s second summit with Chairman Kim.”

In a second tweet on Friday, Trump suggested that North Korea would “become a different kind of Rocket — an Economic one!” The U.S. president was referencing his epithet for Kim Jong Un in 2017: Rocketman. In 2017, Kim oversaw 21 ballistic missile tests, including three tests of intercontinental-range ballistic missiles capable of ranging the U.S. homeland.

The upcoming summit will follow on the outcomes of last year’s summit in Singapore, with North Korea anticipating concessions from the United States. At his New Year’s Day address on January 1, Kim Jong Un emphasized the need for the United States to deliver corresponding measures to respond to North Korean disarmament gestures taken last year.

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