Trump, North Korea's Kim Jong Un open to another nuclear summit

Kim said his personal relationship with the American president remains good and that they could exchange letters at "any time."

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By Max Burman and Associated Press

President Donald Trump said Saturday that a third summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un "would be good" as the two leaders expressed openness to reviving their stalled nuclear diplomacy.

Trump's early weekend message on Twitter came after Kim said he would consider another summit, but set the year's end as a deadline for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement, the country's state-run media said.

Kim made the comments during a speech Friday at a session of the North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament, which made a slew of personnel changes that bolstered his diplomatic lineup amid stalemated negotiations with the United States.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, he blamed the collapse of his summit with Trump in February on what he described as unilateral demands by the U.S., which he said raised questions over whether Washington has genuine willingness to improve relations.

But Kim said his personal relationship with the American president remains good and that they could exchange letters at "any time."

"I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate, and that a third Summit would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand," Trump responded.

Kim's speech came hours after Trump and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in Washington and agreed on the importance of nuclear talks with North Korea.

"We of course place importance on resolving problems through dialogue and negotiations. But U.S.-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn't fit us, and we have no interest in it," Kim said during the speech.

The United States has said the summit in Vietnam broke down because of the North's excessive demands for sanctions relief in return for limited disarmament measures.

In their first summit last June in Singapore, Trump and Kim issued a vague statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

Kim repeated earlier claims that North Korea's crippled economy would persevere through heavy international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program and that he wouldn't "obsess over summitry with the United States out of thirst for sanctions relief."

Kim said the United States has been refusing to withdraw what the North perceives as "hostile policies" while sticking to "mistaken judgment that we would succumb to maximum pressure."

"If the United States approaches us with the right manner and offers to hold a third North Korea-U.S. leaders' summit on the condition of finding solutions we could mutually accept, then we do have a willingness to give it one more try," he added.

"We will wait with patience until the end of the year for the United States to come up with a courageous decision. But it will clearly be difficult for a good opportunity like last time to come up."

The lack of substantial disarmament commitments from the North and the deepening impasse in nuclear negotiations have fueled doubts on whether Kim would ever voluntarily relinquish an arsenal he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

Some experts say it's becoming clear the North intends to turn the talks with the United States into a bilateral arms reduction negotiation between two nuclear states, rather than a unilateral process of surrendering its arsenal.