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US President Donald
Trump praised North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday for
his courage in taking steps to disarm, but said much work still
had to be done and sanctions must remain in place on North Korea
un
til it denuclearizes.

“The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every
direction, nuclear testing has stopped, some military facilities
are already being dismantled,” Trump said in his speech to the
annual United Nations General Assembly.

“I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for
the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done,”
Trump said. “The sanctions will stay in place until
denuclearization occurs.”

Trump’s remarks on North Korea were dramatically different
from those in his speech last year at the UN assembly, when he
threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and mocked the North
Korean leader as “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission.”

Trump held an unprecedented summit with Kim in Singapore in
June which yielded a broad pledge by Kim to “work towards”
denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

However, Kim’s commitments and actions so far have fallen
far short of Washington’s demands for a complete inventory of
North Korea’s weapons programs and irreversible steps to give up
a nuclear arsenal that threatens the United States.

Trump has nevertheless heaped personal praise on Kim and
expressed enthusiasm for a second summit.

On Monday, he said he expected this to be announced “pretty
soon” but that the location had yet to be determined.

During a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at
the United Nations on Monday, Trump said Kim has been “really
very open and terrific, frankly.”

“I think he wants to see something happen.”

Trump singled out Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, Moon
and Chinese President Xi Jinping for their support over North
Korea, in spite of some questions about the commitment of the
latter two leaders to maintaining tough sanctions on Pyongyang.

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At a meeting last week with Moon, Kim promised to dismantle
a missile site and also a nuclear complex if the United States
took “corresponding action.”

Moon told an event in New York on the sidelines of the UN
meeting that declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War
would encourage North Korea to move further with
denuclearisation.

Moon said Kim had told him the “corresponding measures” he
was seeking were security guarantees Trump pledged in Singapore
and moves toward normalization of relations with Washington.

“I believe that setting a timetable for all these measures
is a task for the second US-North Korea summit,” Moon said.

Fox News said Moon told the network in an interview to be
broadcast on Tuesday evening that Trump could meet Kim before
the end of the year. Moon has said his administration aims to
declare an end to the Korean War this year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he hoped
to travel to North Korea again before the end of the year to
make final preparations for a second Trump-Kim summit.

Pompeo has proposed a meeting with North Foreign Minister Ri
Yong Ho at the General Assembly this week.

US ambassador to
the United Nations Nikki Haley said last week the two had agreed
to meet but that the meeting could take place later.

Ri, who responded to Trump’s UN remarks last year by
calling them “the sound of a dog barking” and warning that North
Korea could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, arrived
back in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

He did not reply when asked on arrival at his hotel close to
the United Nations when he would meet Pompeo.

Moon and Abe met on the sidelines of the UN assembly and
the South Korean leader highlighted the importance of improved
relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang to accelerate North Korean
denuclearisation, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

“I believe the normalization of North Korea-Japan relations
is required in the process of establishing peace on the Korean
Peninsula, and I will actively support and cooperate so a North
Korea-Japan summit will be held,” Yonhap quoted Moon as telling
Abe.

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