President Donald Trump said he didn’t expect to meet Kim Jong-un until after US elections in November, as the administration struggles to secure disarmament commitments from North Korea.
The US president said his campaign schedule prevented meetings before the November 6 vote, in which Republican control of Congress hangs in the balance. Still, he said the administration had “made incredible progress” in negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and was considering three to four locations for a second summit.
“I just can’t leave now,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, while en route to a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Earlier, the president had said discussions about a second summit were progressing and that details “won’t be too far away.”
Trump and Kim signed a vague agreement in Singapore in June to “work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” but have so far struggled for a deal on the pace and sequence of steps to achieve that goal. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo came away from meetings on Sunday in North Korea without a date for another meeting or news on when key denuclearisation milestones might take place.
“The fact that they’ve had these meetings—both with Secretary of State Pompeo and with President Trump—and have held back from a clear sign that they’re moving forward, makes me kind of wonder,” Christopher Hill, a former US ambassador to South Korea and North Kor-ea negotiator under Presid-ent George W. Bush, told Bloomberg Television.