US President Donald Trump has reportedly said he will announce next week the site and date for the second summit he plans with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un around the end of February.
Trump later said he would likely make the announcement during his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday.
“They very much want the meeting,” Trump told reporters, and he asserted that his administration has made “tremendous progress” toward reining in the North’s nuclear ambitions.
The president said that before he took office in January 2017, “it looked like we were going to war with North Korea.
Now, there’s no missile testing. There’s no rocket testing, there’s no nuclear testing.
We got back our prisoners, our hostages. We’re getting back our remains.”
Trump long has contended that his outreach to Kim and their initial summit last June in Singapore have put the US and North Korea on the path to peace.
But his list of concrete achievements has not grown in the months since that meeting, and his own intelligence chiefs believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress on Tuesday that the government’s intelligence assessment does not support the idea that Kim will eliminate his nuclear weapons or the capacity for building more.
A skeptical Trump tweeted in response: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” Private analysts, in several reports in the past four months, have drawn on commercial satellite imagery to determine that the North is continuing to develop its nuclear and missile technology despite the test suspension.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has led the diplomatic effort with North Korea, is sending a team to Asia to make preparations for the second Trump-Kim summit.
He has not identified a venue for the meeting. Vietnam has been considered, along with Thailand, Hawaii and Singapore.