Feb. 24 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said Sunday he expects continued progress toward denuclearization with North Korea, as leader Kim Jong Un traveled through China in a train en route to their upcoming summit.
Trump wrote on Twitter that he will be leaving for Hanoi early Monday for the summit on Wednesday and Thursday. He said the two leaders “expect a continuation of the progress made at first Summit in Singapore” in June of last year.
He also speculated about the possibility of economic growth in North Korea if it committed to denuclearization.
“Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World,” Trump wrote. “Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!”
“The last thing China wants are large scale nuclear weapons right next door. Sanctions placed on the border by China and Russia have been very helpful,” he wrote.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea remains a nuclear threat, despite a tweet from Trump after his fist meeting with Kim in which he said “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
Pompeo said Trump’s comments in June indicated that commitments made by Kim during the previous summit had “substantially taken down the risk to the American people,” but the United States was still working toward neutralizing the threat of nuclear activity.
“It’s the mission of the secretary of State and the president of the United States to keep American people secure. We’re aiming to achieve that,” he said.
He added that Trump is seeking to ensure a commitment from North Korea to take a “demonstrable, verifiable” step toward denuclearization during his meeting with Kim.
Kim on Sunday was traveling through China in an armored train that departed from Pyongyang Railway Station on Saturday en route to Vietnam.