“I think I would like to see ultimately denuclearization of North Korea,” said U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday (local time) regarding his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But Trump added, “I have no pressing time schedule,” being cautious about a possibility of striking a “big deal,” where the two countries draw up a roadmap for complete denuclearization and timetable for sanctions relief, at their summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“I think a lot of things will come out of it (second summit with North Korea)…I think I would like to see ultimately denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump told reporters at the White House on the day. “As long as there is no testing, I am in no rush,” the U.S. president said, repeating that he is in no rush for five times.
By saying so, Trump hinted that the U.S. will not take the risk of promising sanctions relief on North Korea unless the North pledges to make a concrete steps toward denuclearization at the second U.S.-North Korea summit. In this regard, the two-day Washington-Pyongyang summit is likely to be reduced to one day unlike President Trump’s earlier comment that he will meet with Kim Jong Un for two days from Feb. 27 to 28. It appears the U.S.-North Korea summit will be held for one day on Feb. 28, while other event is being prepared on Feb. 27,” said a diplomatic source in Hanoi.
President Trump said he discussed almost everything about the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the phone but did not mention anything about the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects Moon proposed. “If President Trump asks, South Korea is willing to take on inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, including the reconnection of railways and roads between two Koreas,” Moon told Trump in the call. "That is a way to lessen the burden on the U.S."
Against this backdrop, a controversy surrounding the cost of inter-Korean economic cooperation projects is likely to flare up once again as President Moon publicly offered to shoulder the cost of economic support for North Korea. According to the National Assembly Budget Office’s estimates, inter-Korean economic cooperation on 10 sectors, such as railways, roads, and ports that two Koreas agreed in the Panmunjom Declaration in October last year would cost at least 103 trillion won.
“It is not different from asking President Trump to give Kim Jong Un presents of sanctions relief,” said Rep. Na Kyung-won, the floor leader at the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
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