Trump: ‘Substantial chance’ summit with Kim will not go ahead
US President Donald Trump has done little to quell mounting uncertainty surrounding a hallmark meeting with North Korea’s leader planned for next month, as he held key talks with his South Korean counterpart at the White House. Trump is scheduled to meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12, but in recent weeks there have been growing concerns that the summit will not go ahead as scheduled. “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later,” Trump said of the planned meeting, addressing reporters alongside Moon Jae-in. Asked to offer more details, the US president, who earlier this month withdrew from a multinational nuclear deal with Iran, muddied waters even further. “is trying to drive us into a corner”. In particular, Pyongyang is concerned about a continued US military presence on the Korean peninsula and Washington’s socalled nuclear deterrence umbrella in South Korea and Japan. More than 24,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea, according to Department of Defense figures from 2016. Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea studies at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, argued that threats made by the two sides to abandon the Singapore summit were likely little more than diplomatic posturing. “The events of the past week are elements of a negotiation process - [now] both sides have delivered their going-in positions,” Snyder told Al Jazeera. “The North Korea issue offers [Trump] the opportunity for such a distinctive accomplishment that it would be powerful ammunition to refute critics who on many other issues have panned his administration’s impact on the US’ global role.” “[But] it’s unlikely the US is going to achieve its goal of comprehensive, verifiable denuclearisation and so the likely outcome is somewhere in between. The question is, where?” For his part, Moon said in Washington, DC, that the “fate and future” of the peninsula is hinged on the potentially historic planned meeting. Referring to Moon’s meeting with Trump, Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett said there was a sense of a “salvage effort” being made to try and ensure the Singapore summit goes ahead. “[But] certainly there is a lot of doubt that seems to be intensifying with the hour,” Halkett said, reporting from the White House. Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Washington-based Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said, however, that Trump didn’t “want to look like he wants this summit more than Kim does”. “It’s a smart move to say that he is willing to postpone. But to be credible, the president really has to be willing to walk away and I’m not sure he is,” Glaser told Reuters news agency.