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Trump voices optimism about N. Korea talks

2018/07/12 23:49

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WASHINGTON, July 12 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed optimism about ongoing negotiations to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program, citing a halt in the regime's testing of nukes and ballistic missiles.

Trump's remarks came at a press conference in Brussels, where he attended a summit of North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, as skepticism persists about the implementation of his denuclearization deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"That was an amazing, really an amazing meeting, I thought," he said of his summit with Kim in Singapore last month. "And I really think that we established very good relationships.

"We'll see where it all ends, but there have been no missile tests, there have been no research where there has been. They have blown up a site. I hear they're blowing up another -- missile site," he said.

This AP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump holding a press conference at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. (Yonhap) This AP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump holding a press conference at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. (Yonhap)

At the summit, Kim committed to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang last week to flesh out the deal. He later cited progress in his meetings with North Korean officials, but also acknowledged that a lot of work remained to be done.

Kim did not meet with Pompeo, contrary to what the White House had earlier announced. And recent news reports have cited U.S. intelligence as finding continued expansion of North Korea's nuclear facilities.

Still, Trump was upbeat.

"They've taken down all of the propaganda. In fact, somebody said, there's no more music playing at the borderline. You know, the music was going on for many years. They said recently that, 'Wow, there's no more of the heavy music and the propaganda,'" he said. "They've done a lot of things. And we got back our three hostages. So it's a good process."

   Speaking next to Trump, Pompeo echoed the president's optimism.

"We had a productive conversation. There remains a great deal of work to do, but I think, most importantly, my counterpart, Kim Yong-chol, made a commitment consistent with what President Trump was able to achieve with Chairman Kim, which was they intend to denuclearize, they're going to accomplish it, and now the task is to get it implemented," he said.

Kim Yong-chol is known to be a close aide to the North Korean leader.

Trump praised his top diplomat as a "true expert on the trips to North Korea."

   "The best way to get there, the best way to get out and he gets along very well and he's doing a great job over there," he said.

Pompeo traveled twice to Pyongyang ahead of the summit to lay the groundwork for the first-ever meeting between the two countries' leaders. He met with Kim Jong-un both times.

hague@yna.co.kr

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