October 19, 2018 / 9:16 PM / a month ago

Next summit for Trump, North Korea's Kim likely after first of year - senior U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The next summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely to happen early next year, a senior administration official said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un hold a signing ceremony at the conclusion of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The two sides have been engaged in talks on the leaders’ second meeting after the first, unprecedented, one in Singapore in June.

“A meeting is likely sometime after the first of the year,” the U.S. official told a small group of reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday he hopes to meet his North Korean counterpart soon to lay the groundwork for a “big step forward” on denuclearisation during the next summit.

Pompeo, in an interview with Voice of America on a trip to Mexico City, said Kim told him two weeks ago he was committed to the promises he had made to Trump during their first summit.

“I’m very hopeful we’ll have senior leader meetings here in the next week and a half or so between myself and my counterpart to continue this discussion so that when the two of them get together there is real opportunity to make another big step forward on denuclearisation,” he told VOA.

Pompeo met North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

A State Department spokeswoman declined to clarify if Pompeo meant he would meet his counterpart in Washington, saying she had no meetings to announce.

The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official party newspaper, said the United States should not take an approach with “two faces” as Washington touts progress in denuclearisation talks while keeping sanctions in place.

“We do not want good will and generosity of the U.S. but urge it to act with the elementary give-and-take principle,” the Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary on Saturday.

The United States and South Korea on Friday said they had suspended upcoming joint air defence drills in a bid to ensure diplomatic efforts with North Korea continue.

The two Koreas have held three summits this year.

Reporting by Steve Holland, David Alexander and David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Jane Chung in SEOUL; Editing by James Dalgleish and Ros Russell

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