WASHINGTON — The United States says it will not impose more conditions on North Korea before a summit of the two nations’ leaders, beyond the North’s promise not to resume nuclear and missile tests or publicly criticize US-South Korean military exercises.
But the uncertainty still lingers over plans for the first-ever meeting of a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
Four days after the surprise announcement that President Trump had agreed to meet the North’s Kim Jong Un by May, Washington has yet to hear directly from Pyongyang on the invitation extended by Kim via South Korean intermediaries.
‘‘It’s very early stages,’’ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Monday in Abuja, Nigeria, on a swing through Africa, when asked about plans for the meeting, expected in May. ‘‘We’ve not heard anything directly back from North Korea, although we expect to hear something directly from them.’’
He said that no venue for the meeting had been agreed upon.
‘‘I think it’s going to be very important that those conversations are held quietly,’’ Tillerson said.
A summit between two nations that have remained in a state of war since the Korean War would be a remarkable turnabout after a year of heightened tensions. Kim has pushed his isolated nation closer to having a nuclear-tipped missile that can strike the US mainland. Trump has vowed to prevent that, by force if necessary.
On Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the meeting wouldn’t take place ‘‘until we see concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea.’’
But Deputy White House spokesman Raj Shah said on Sunday that no additional conditions are being stipulated.
He stressed that North Korea must stick to the commitments that were relayed by South Korean officials who met with Kim last week and then came to Washington and briefed Trump.