Uncertainty looms large on US-North Korea summit
Amidst North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suspending high level talks with South Korea and shrouding clouds over June 12 summit, US President Donald Trump offered non-committal response to the Pyongyang’s threats to cancel the meeting saying “we will have to see” if his planned summit with North Korean leader will go ahead.
Trump told reporters on Wednesday the United States has not been officially notified about North Korea’s threat to pull out of the meeting. “No decision, we haven’t been notified at all, we’ll have to see. We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything,” he said.
Responding to a question as if Washington will still insist that North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons despite the threat to cancel the historic summit, Trump nodded yes.
On Wednesday North Korea reacted to the US-South Korea largest ever “2018 Max Thunder” drill by suspending high level talks with South scheduled for the day and threatened to “reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming DPRK-US summit.”
North Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye-gwan, said in a statement, “If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the … summit.”
North Korean official derided as “absurd” comments by Trump’s top security adviser John Bolton for suggesting discussions with North Korea similar to those that led to components of Libya’s nuclear programme being shipped to the US in 2004.
North Korea had clashed with Bolton when he worked under George W Bush administration. “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” Kim Kye-gwan said.
Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders was, on Wednesday, hopeful that the summit would take place, adding Trump was prepared for a tough negotiation.
She told Fox News, “The president is ready if the meeting takes place, If it doesn’t, we’ll continue the maximum pressure campaign that’s been ongoing.” She further said that the North Korean comments were “not something that is out of the ordinary in these types of operations”.
After a long series of barbs against each other US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were scheduled to hold a historic summit on June 12 in Singapore. The leaders of North and South Korea have recently held a meeting at the demilitarized zone between the two countries and decided to denuclearize the peninsula.
As a gesture before US-North Korea summit, Pyongyang authorities have recently released three Korean-Americans who were incarcerating for spying and disruptive activities.