By Lee Haye-ah
WASHINGTON, June 29 (Yonhap) — The top U.S. envoy for North Korea said Monday that another summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is unlikely before the November presidential election in the United States.
Stephen Biegun, deputy secretary of state and lead negotiator on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, made the comment during a virtual forum hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank headquartered in Washington.
“I think it’s probably unlikely between now and the U.S. election,” he said in response to a question about the possibility of Trump and Kim meeting again.
“In the time remaining and with the wet blanket the COVID-19 has put over the entire world it’s hard to envision the circumstances where we could do an in-person international summit, but certainly engagement between the two sides, and we’re prepared to do so,” he said.
Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018 to try to reach a deal on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for U.S. concessions.
But working-level negotiations have failed to make progress amid wide gaps over the scope of North Korea’s denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.
“We believe there is still time for the United States and North Korea to make substantial progress in the direction that we believe that both sides want to go,” Biegun added.