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United Nations, United States, Sept 24 (AFP/APP):President Donald Trump said Monday he expects a second summit with Kim Jong Un to take place “quite soon” as he returned to the United Nations to trumpet a turnaround in ties with the North Korean leader.
Trump used his debut address to the UN General Assembly last year to threaten to “totally destroy” North Korea and belittled Kim as “rocket man”, prompting Kim to respond by calling the US president “mentally deranged”.
But speaking as he arrived at UN headquarters in New York for this year’s gathering, Trump hailed “tremendous progress” to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests and said that a year later it was a “much different time.”
“It looks like we’ll have a second summit quite soon,” he told reporters.
“As you know Kim Jong Un wrote a letter — a beautiful letter — asking for a second meeting and we will be doing that,” added Trump who met with Kim in Singapore in June.
While relations with Kim have improved dramatically, leaders attending the annual assembly will hear how another of Trump’s adversaries, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, remains beyond the pale for the American president.
In addition to his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump has a series of bilateral meetings with allies such as French President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Theresa May and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, whom he met with late Sunday.
One of the most closely-watched will be Monday’s meeting with South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, who will brief him on last week’s inter-Korean summit with Kim in Pyongyang.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who has visited Pyongyang three times — will preside over a Security Council meeting Thursday where he will brief members on how the administration can persuade the North to turn its back on nuclear weapons.
He will also defend the Trump administration’s use of sanctions to force change, which has seen Chinese and Russian companies punished for doing business in North Korea.
Skepticism remains about whether Kim has taken any concrete steps, but that seems unlikely to deter Trump from pushing toward a follow-up to the Singapore summit in June.