WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his next summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un won’t happen until after next month’s midterm elections.
“I just can’t leave now,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, explaining that his hectic campaign-trail schedule has left him too busy to arrange a meeting.
Trump last week held four rallies for Republican candidates across the country; he headlines another four this week.
Earlier Tuesday, in an Oval Office meeting with outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Trump said that his staff is looking at “three or four locations” for the summit. He also predicted that North Korea “is going to be a very successful country.”
“I think it’s going to be incredibly economically successful, and I want to make it that way. I think it’s going to be good,” Trump said.
Relations between Washington and Pyongyang have run hot and cold in recent months. A July trip by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea ended with officials there criticizing the United States for making “gangster-like” demands on denuclearization. An August visit by Pompeo was abruptly called off.
But things seemed to go better this week.
On Sunday, Pompeo spent more than three hours with Kim in Pyongyang, in talks he described as a “productive” step toward persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Pompeo also announced that both sides had agreed to set up “working-level” teams to finalize the date and time for a second summit following June’s Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore.
Asked Tuesday about the potential location for a second summit, Trump said he was open to meeting in North Korea or in the United States — including at his own Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
“I think eventually we’re going to have lots of meetings on U.S. soil and on their soil, by the way, just — you know, that’s a two-way street,” he said.
Trump has another big summit on his agenda after the midterms: The White House announced in July that it was pushing to 2019 a second meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Washington Post writer Simon Denyer contributed to this report.
Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.