North America

Trump says 'a lot of progress' made with North Korea

Donald Trump says he's looking forward to another meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (AAP)

Donald Trump says the US and North Korea have made "a lot of progress" on denuclearisation after his meeting with the country's nuclear envoy Kim Yong Chol.

US President Donald Trump says he had "an incredible" meeting with North Korea's nuclear envoy Kim Yong-chol and the two sides had made "a lot of progress" on denuclearisation.

The White House announced after talks between Trump and Kim on Friday that the president would hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in late February, but would maintain economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

"That was an incredible meeting," Trump said of the talks, speaking to reporters at the White House on Saturday.

"We've agreed to meet sometime, probably the end of February.

"We've picked a country but we'll be announcing it in the future.

"Kim Jong-un is looking very forward to it and so am I," Trump said.

North Korea's Kim Yong-chol is one of the country's top negotiators.
North Korea's Kim Yong-chol is one of the country's top negotiators.

"We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearisation is concerned and we are talking about a lot of different things.

"Things are going very well with North Korea."

Trump and the White House have given no details of the talks, and despite his upbeat comments there has been no indication of any narrowing of differences over US demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States and Pyongyang's demands for a lifting of punishing sanctions.

A first summit in June in Singapore - the first-ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader - produced a vague commitment by Kim Jong-un to work toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

However Kim has yet to take what Washington sees as concrete steps in that direction.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands as he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, in Singapore.
US President Donald Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February for the second time after their meeting last year.

Critics of US efforts say the first summit only boosted Kim's international stature without much to show for it, and some believe Trump may see a second meeting as a way of distracting from his domestic troubles.

Trump did not elaborate on the country chosen to host the summit, but Vietnam has been considered a leading candidate.

Kim Yong-chol, regarded as a member of Kim Jong-un's inner circle, also had talks on Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US special representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun.

The State Department said the two sides had "a productive first meeting at the working level" and Biegun would travel to Sweden at the weekend to attend an international conference.

The conference is also being attended by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

Washington has been keen to set up talks between Biegun and Choe but North Korea has resisted, apparently wanting to keep exchanges high-level.

Asked if the two would meet in Stockholm, a State Department spokeswoman said there were no meetings to announce.

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