Trump: ‘Sub­stan­tial chance’ sum­mit with Kim will not go ahead

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: Al-Jazeera

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.

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