A man reads a copy of the Munhwa Ilbo newspaper featuring U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the front page in Seoul, South Korea. (Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg)

Trump Says Date, Place Set for Kim Summit But Doesn't Elaborate

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(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said Friday a date and place have been set for his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and will be announced soon.

“We have a date, we have a location,” Trump told reporters at the White House on his way to board the Marine One presidential helicopter.

Trump didn’t reveal either the date or place of the summit.

Later, aboard the presidential plane Air Force One, Trump told reporters: “I think a lot of good things are going to be happening over the next short period of time,” referring to North Korea. “But I’ll see you over there. It’s going to be very exciting.”

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, citing diplomatic sources in Washington, reported that the meeting would most likely to be held in Singapore in the third week of June.

Asked about the report on Friday night, the White House said that there was still nothing to announce.

Earlier in the day, Trump expressed optimism that three Americans held in a North Korean prison would be released soon, telling reporters “a lot of things have already happened with respect to the hostages.” As he boarded Air Force One, Trump said the U.S. is “doing very well with the hostages.”

The president hopes to reach an agreement for the North to “denuclearize.” He has praised Kim’s rapid steps toward resolving the standoff and expressed optimism about the possibility of making a deal.

Withdrawal Not on Table

Trump said the withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea is “not on the table” in the negotiations with North Korea. But, he added “I have to tell you at some point into the future, I would like to save the money. You know, we have 32,000 troops there.”

The meeting would be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. president, though former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have traveled to North Korea since leaving office to negotiate the release of prisoners and to discuss potential diplomatic talks. Then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang in 2000 to meet with Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, who was the North Korean leader then.

Trump said earlier this week that he liked the idea of meeting at the Demilitarized Zone because “if things work out, there is a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third-party country.”

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met on April 27 at the Peace House in Panmunjom last week after Kim walked across the military demarcation line. Kim has also held a meeting with China’s foreign minister.

The White House said on Friday evening that Moon would meet with Trump and his national security team in Washington on May 22 to discuss the summit with Kim.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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