US holds line on nukes

Trump not sure whether North Korea will go ahead with sum­mit

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - World -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says the US would in­sist that North Korea give up its nu­clear weapons de­spite Py­ongyang’s threat to pull out of a planned sum­mit.

North Korea threw the June 12 sum­mit into doubt on Wed­nes­day, say­ing it might not at­tend if Wash­ing­ton con­tin­ues to de­mand it uni­lat­er­ally aban­don its nu­clear weapons.

North Korea also called off high-level talks with South Korea sched­uled for Wed­nes­day, blam­ing US-South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

“We’ll have to see,” Mr Trump said when asked if the sum­mit with Kim Jong-un was still on.

“No de­ci­sion, we haven’t been no­ti­fied at all ... We haven’t seen any­thing, we haven’t heard any­thing,” he added, while say­ing that he would con­tinue to push for the de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean penin­sula.

Can­cel­la­tion of the sum­mit, the first meet­ing be­tween a serv­ing US pres­i­dent and a North Korean leader, would deal a ma­jor blow to what would be the big­gest diplo­matic achieve­ment of Mr Trump’s pres­i­dency.

Mr Trump has raised ex­pec­ta­tions for suc­cess even as many an­a­lysts have been scep­ti­cal about the chances of bridging the gap be­cause of ques­tions about North Korea’s will­ing­ness to give up its nu­clear arse­nal.

The White House said ear­lier it was still hope­ful the sum­mit would take place, but Mr Trump (pic­tured) was pre­pared for a tough ne­go­ti­a­tion.

“The Pres­i­dent is ready if the meet­ing takes place,” White House spokes­woman Sarah San­ders told Fox News. “If it doesn’t, we’ll con­tinue the max­i­mum pres­sure cam­paign that’s been on­go­ing.” San­ders said the North Korean com­ments were “not some­thing that is out of the or­di­nary in th­ese types of op­er­a­tions”.

North Korea’s first vice min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs, Kim Kye Gwan, on Wed­nes­day cast doubt on whether the planned meet­ing be­tween Mr Kim and Mr Trump, which is set for Sin­ga­pore, would be held.

“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,” he said.

He specif­i­cally crit­i­cised US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John Bolton, who has called for North Korea to quickly give up its nu­clear arse­nal in a deal that would mir­ror Libya’s aban­don­ment of its pro­gram for weapons of mass de­struc­tion. Ms San­ders ap­peared re­luc­tant to en­dorse the Libya model that the out­spo­ken Mr Bolton has touted, most re­cently on Sun­day. She said the model that would be fol­lowed on Korea was “the Pres­i­dent Trump model”.

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