In this June 12, 2018 photo, US President Donald Trump, right, meets with leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (EVAN VUCCI / AP)
WASHINGTON — The White House said Friday that the second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), "will take place near the end of February."
The announcement was made after Trump wrapped up a meeting in the Oval Office with Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the DPRK's ruling Korean Workers' Party Central Committee.
President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February
Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary
"President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
"The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date," she said.
"We'll probably now have another meeting. He'd like to meet, I'd like to meet. We'll set that up, we'll be setting that up in the not-too-distant future," Trump told reporters at the White House on Jan 2.
Both sides have said they look forward to the meeting. Trump and Kim Jong-un held a historic summit in Singapore last June.
Kim Jong-un said during his Jan 7-10 trip to China, his fourth visit to China in less than a year, that Pyongyang will make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and US leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community, while thanking China for its efforts to push for progress in the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul has voiced similar appreciation. At a press conference on Jan 10, Republic of Korean President Moon Jae-in said, "Until now, China has played a positive role in helping very much the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization and improving inter-Korean relations."
Taking a commercial plane, Kim Yong-chol arrived at Washington on Thursday night and was greeted there by Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for the DPRK, according to ROK's Yonhap news agency.
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Earlier Friday, Kim Yong Chol held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Biegun at a hotel in Washington.
"Secretary Pompeo and Special Representative Steve Biegun had a good discussion this morning with DPRK Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol on efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement.
Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed that the DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui has arrived in Stockholm for meetings with international experts
In another development, the Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that the DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui has arrived in Stockholm for meetings with international experts. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that Biegun would be among the diplomats present there.
Also on Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Washington and Pyongyang to agree on a roadmap for serious negotiations on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
"We believe it's high time to make sure that the negotiations between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea start again seriously and that a roadmap is clearly defined for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Guterres told a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.
The UN chief said a roadmap would enable both sides "to know exactly what the next steps will be, and to have predictability in the way negotiations take place," adding that it's "important for the two parties to come together in an effective way."
The ROK said Friday that it expects Washington and Pyongyang to begin working on the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula "at an early date."
"Since the two leaders promised to work for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula last June, we hope their agreement will be materialized at an early date," Lee Eugene, deputy spokesperson of ROK's Ministry of Unification, said when asked to comment on Kim Yong-chol's visit to Washington, Yonhap News Agency reported.
According to a joint statement by Trump and Kim after their Singapore summit, Washington will provide security guarantee to Pyongyang in return for the latter's commitment to denuclearization.
Follow-up discussions between Washington and Pyongyang at lower levels failed to yield substantive results due to differences over the scale of denuclearization, the lifting of US sanctions on the DPRK, and the issuance of a war-ending declaration.
The United States requested a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization of the DPRK, while Pyongyang insisted that denuclearization should cover all of the Korean Peninsula and be achieved through a phased approach that would also involve the withdrawal of US troops and weapons stationed on the peninsula.
HONG KONG NEWS