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Ahead of second summit, Trump says he’s in ‘no rush whatsoever’ on North Korean denuclearization

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 2/20/2019 Felicia Sonmez
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President Trump said Tuesday that he is in “no rush whatsoever” on North Korean denuclearization, setting low expectations for his summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Kim will meet on Feb. 27 and 28 in Hanoi, following on their meeting in Singapore last June.

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Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he had a “great conversation” about the trip with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday morning. Moon’s administration has said it is hopeful that Trump and Kim can achieve “specific” progress toward denuclearization, although some observers have voiced skepticism about the effectiveness of Trump’s approach. 

Trump said that while he would “ultimately” like to see North Korea denuclearize, he has “no pressing time schedule” because “the sanctions are on.” 

“We’re in no rush whatsoever,” the president told reporters. “We’re going to have our meeting . . . As long as there’s no testing, I’m in no rush. If there’s testing, that’s another deal.”

He added that he will be speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday and that he expects next week’s summit with Kim to be “very exciting.”

Trump had long mocked Kim as “Little Rocket Man.” But he took a different tone after their summit last year. In a tweet this month, Trump predicted that “North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket — an Economic one!”

Trump has repeatedly argued that if he had not been elected president, the United States would “be in a major war” with North Korea, a claim that some experts have criticized as overblown.

felicia.sonmez@washpost.com

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