On Friday afternoon, Donald Trump met a top official from North Korea at the White House to discuss denuclearization. Trump and Kim Yong Chol met for over an hour and cemented plans for a second meeting, which is scheduled to take place at some point in February.
According to CBS News, this meeting was the second Kim Yong Chol had that day with White House officials. He also spent the morning at a hotel in Washington, D.C., having a conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and special representative Steve Beigun.
“President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and [a] half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February,” Sanders said in a statement. “The president looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date.”
The location for the second meeting has not been announced at this point. However, experts believe that the top choices for the summit will be either Thailand or Vietnam. Should all go as planned, this would be Trump’s second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un since Trump assumed the presidency.
According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president is pushing for denuclearization of North Korea. The United States will continue to use sanctions on North Korea to encourage the process. However, despite Sanders’ claims that progress has been made on the subject, it appears that the two countries are still deadlocked on the issue of denuclearization.
Earlier this week, a Missile Defense Review from the Pentagon stated that North Korea remains “an extraordinary threat.” This seemingly conflicts with what Trump has said on the subject. After his first meeting with Kim Jong Un back in June of 2018, Trump publicly declared that North Korea was no longer a threat. Vice President Mike Pence echoed the concerns of the Pentagon on Wednesday, saying that officials are still waiting on “concrete steps by North Korea to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and allies in the region.”
Since the summit, there have been no tangible steps toward denuclearization. In fact, multiple reports have supposedly confirmed that North Korea is still developing and producing nuclear weapons as well as missiles. Despite this, Trump has maintained that relations between the two countries are improving and remains confident that denuclearization is on the horizon for North Korea.