Trump: U.S.-N.K. meeting being set up

WASHINGTON-- U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that a meeting with North Korea was being set up after negotiators from both countries arrived in Sweden to resume denuclearization talks this weekend.

The working-level negotiations are expected to be held in Stockholm Saturday for the first time since a February summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam ended without any agreement.

There was no immediate confirmation that the Americans and North Koreans made preliminary contact in Stockholm Friday as previewed by the North.

"We're dealing with North Korea," Trump told reporters at the White House. "They want to meet, and we'll be meeting with them. It's probably being set up as we speak, but we'll let you know. But North Korea would like to do something."

Trump made similar remarks Thursday when asked if the North had gone too far with its testing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile a day earlier.

The launch was seen as a move aimed at increasing the North's leverage ahead of the high-stakes talks with the U.S.

The two sides will seek to find common ground between U.S. demands for the North's complete and verified denuclearization and Pyongyang's demands for sanctions relief and security guarantees.

The North has demanded that the U.S. come up with a new proposal before the end of the year, saying it will never accept Washington's previous calls for unilateral denuclearization.

Trump suggested last month that an unspecified "new method" could help move the stalled negotiations forward, but skepticism persists as to the prospects for a deal.

The current impeachment inquiry against Trump has added to the uncertainties, with some analysts saying it could push the North to either quickly seal a deal that provides initial sanctions relief or abandon the negotiations completely until the inquiry is over.

Trump ruled out any negative impact from the probe.

"We have a lot of countries in a very good position right now, despite the 'witch hunt,' which hurts our country and it hurts America," he said. "But Iran wants to do something. North Korea wants to do something, and China would like to do something."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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