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Trump-Kim Summit

Trump will be 'happy' as long as North Korea halts weapons tests

President lowers the bar for denuclearization talks at upcoming summit with Kim

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with governors at the White House on Feb. 24.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump revealed that he is in no rush to strike a nuclear deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when the two leaders meet at their second summit this week in Hanoi, Vietnam.

"I just do not want testing. As long as there is no testing, we're happy," Trump told a gathering of governors at the White House on Sunday, the eve of his departure for the summit. The President also said he has a "special feeling" about the dictator, stating that the two have a "very, very good relationship."

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that Trump may offer North Korean leader Kim Jong Un an incentive to move forward on denuclearization at their two-day summit in Vietnam this week, but stressed that economic sanctions would stay in place.

"If we get a substantial step and move forward [on denuclearization] we could certainly provide an outlet which would demonstrate our commitment to the process as well," Pompeo told CNN Sunday.

"These sanctions cover a broad array of activities. The core economic sanctions, the sanctions that prevent countries from conducting trade, creating wealth for North Korea, those sanctions are definitely going to remain in place. There are other things we could do," he said.

Pompeo's statement indicates that the White House is adopting a flexible stance, maintaining sanctions while finding another way to reward Kim. This could include widening the scope of humanitarian aid to North Korea that falls outside of United Nations Security Council sanctions or declaring an official end to the Korean War.

Working-level talks to prepare for the Trump-Kim summit are underway in Hanoi. "There may have to be another summit. We may not get everything done this week," Pompeo told Fox News Sunday, suggesting that the negotiations may not be going smoothly. He added that the summit, which kicks off Wednesday, might only last a day.

"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 tweeted Sunday.

He also praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his support of the summit.

"President Xi of China has been very helpful in his support of my meeting with Kim Jong Un," the president tweeted. "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."

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