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President Trump hopes to hold another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after November’s midterm elections, in which Democrats are vying to regain control of Congress.
Trump told reporters Tuesday he “just can’t leave now,” according to the Hill.
The president has been actively campaigning for Republicans – most recently holding a rally in Iowa on Tuesday, with several more scheduled this week.
During a rally in Kansas on Saturday, Trump touted his efforts to denuclearize North Korea, his success in convincing North Korea to return the remains of U.S. troops killed during the Korean War, and his efforts to secure the release of hostages from North Korea earlier this year.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Seoul is considering lifting sanctions imposed on North Korea in 2010 following a deadly attack on a warship that killed 45 South Korean sailors.
The government is reviewing whether to remove the sanctions aimed at furthering diplomacy to ease tensions and reach denuclearization, the Associated Press reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim in Pyongyang on Sunday, in what he told reporters was a “very productive” meeting.
Negotiations between the two countries have stalled in recent months following the June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim after North Korean officials decried the “unilateral and gangster-like” demands from the U.S.
Pompeo’s meeting signaled a change in tone from the recent talks, although there were no immediate indications the secretary of state had arranged for a second major summit between Trump and Kim. Both leaders have publicly voiced support for another meeting.
Trump canceled Pompeo’s planned trip to North Korea in August after he felt North Korea wasn’t doing enough to help with the process of denuclearization.
However, during another rally in West Virginia last week the president said he received “beautiful letters” from the North Korean leader and that they “fell in love.” The gesture appears to have once again opened the doors to negotiations.
The U.S. and Japan have pushed for the North to compile and turn over a detailed list of its nuclear sites to be dismantled as a next step in the process; the North has rejected that demand.
The North has insisted that sanctions should be lifted before any progress in nuclear talks. U.S. officials have thus far said sanctions will remain in place until the North’s denuclearization is fully verified.
North Korea so far has suspended nuclear and missile tests, freed three American prisoners and dismantled parts of a missile engine facility and tunnel entrances at a nuclear test site. It has not taken any steps to halt nuclear weapons or missile development.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.