Trump not sure on NoKor summit
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Wednesday it was unclear if his summit with North Korea would go ahead after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the unprecedented meeting, a move that could deny him a potentially major foreign policy achievement.
North Korea threw into doubt the June 12 summit between its leader Kim Jongun and Trump on Wednesday, saying it might not attend if Washington continues to demand it unilaterally abandon its nuclear arsenal. North Korea also called off talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday, blaming US-South Korean military exercises.
“We’ll have to see,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office when asked if the summit was still on, though he insisted he would not back down from his demand for North Korea’s denuclearization.
“No decision, we haven’t been notified at all ... We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything,” he said.
Trump’s muted response was in marked contrast to just a few days ago when he exulted over North Korea’s release of three Americans, welcoming them home with praise for Kim and an expression of high hopes that the summit would produce “something very meaningful.”
Trump’s aides — who, according to one US official, were caught off guard by North Korea’s warning — were working on Wednesday to determine whether it was a negotiating ploy by Pyongyang or an attempt to scuttle the summit.
Cancellation of the summit, the first between US and North Korean leaders, would deal a major blow to what would be the biggest diplomatic achievement of Trump’s presidency.
Trump has raised expectations for the summit even as many analysts have been skeptical about the chances of bridging the gap because of questions about North Korea’s willingness to give up a nuclear arsenal that it says can hit the United States.
The White House said it was still hopeful the summit would take place, but Trump was prepared for a tough negotiation.
A pedestrian walks past a mural depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Los Angeles, California on Monday.