Amid fresh uncertainty over his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, US President Donald Trump Wednesday said that he is committed to pressing for the country to abandon its nuclear program as part of any meeting.
North Korea threatened earlier in the day to scrap the historic summit between Trump and Kim, saying it has no interest in a “one-sided” affair meant to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear weapons. But Trump appeared to shrug off the warning, saying the US hadn’t been notified.
“We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything,” Trump said as he welcomed the president of Uzbekistan to the White House. “We will see what happens.”
The warning from North Korea’s first vice foreign minister came after the country abruptly canceled a high-level meeting with South Korea to protest US-South Korean military exercises that the North has long claimed are an invasion rehearsal.
Behind the scenes, U.S. aides tried to soothe South Korean frustrations over the canceled meeting with the North as they continue to plan for the summit, set for June 12 in Singapore, as if nothing had changed.
US officials compared the threat to Trump’s own warning that he might walk away from the summit if he determines Kim is not serious about abandoning his nuclear program, saying it did not appear to be serious.
National Security Adviser John Bolton told Fox News Radio Wednesday “we are trying to be both optimistic and realistic at the same time.”
Bolton, who was called out by name by North Korea for saying that the United States was seeking an outcome similar to Libya’s unilateral nuclear disarmament, said that the personal attack raised the question of “whether this really is a sign that that they’re not taking our objective of denuclearization seriously.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met with the North Korean leader twice to lay the groundwork for the summit, and reported that Kim had agreed to place his nuclear arsenal on the negotiating table.
Source: Associated Press