President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are scheduled to meet for their second summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam. | Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
“I’m not in a rush, I don’t want to rush anybody,“ the president said.
By QUINT FORGEY
02/24/2019 10:45 PM EST
President Donald Trump on Sunday acknowledged he is “not in a rush” to denuclearize North Korea, and said he would be satisfied with Kim Jong Un simply ceasing tests of his nuclear arsenal.
“What’s going to happen, I can’t tell you,” Trump told attendees of the annual Governors’ Ball in the State Dining Room of the White House — appearing to ratchet down expectations for his second summit with Kim, scheduled to take place on Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam.Story Continued Below
“I’m not in a rush, I don’t want to rush anybody, I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy,” the president said.
During his remarks to the nation’s governors, Trump exhibited the type of diplomatic uncertainty he has been known to display in the days leading up to high-stakes negotiations with other world leaders, vacillating between aspirations for Kim’s regime and cynicism toward the dictator’s willingness to change course.
“He has a chance to have a country that is so vibrant economically — maybe one of the most in the world,” Trump said.
“I say, you have one of the greatest locations, they have incredible people, hard-working people, smart, energetic. And I think it could be really one of the great financial and economic countries anywhere in the world,” he continued. North Korea is now one of the poorest nations on the planet.
Trump added: “I said you can’t do that if you’re going to keep nuclear. If you do nuclear, that can’t ever happen.”
But the president also said he and Kim “have a chance” to achieve total denuclearization, and teased “a very interesting two and half days in Vietnam.”
Senior Senate Democrats demanded in a letter Sunday that Trump’s upcoming round of talks with Kim “demonstrate tangible, verifiable progress on denuclearization and reducing tensions” with the rogue state, and urged the president to “execute a serious diplomatic plan” in Hanoi.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ told Congress last month that North Korea is unlikely to surrender its nuclear weapons — breaking with Trump’s assessment that the U.S. is making progress in its efforts to persuade Kim to yield.
“Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!”
In another message posted Sunday afternoon, the president wrote: “So funny to watch people who have failed for years, they got NOTHING, telling me how to negotiate with North Korea. But thanks anyway!”
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