North Korea threat­ens to scrap Kim-Trump sum­mit

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

NORTH Korea’s First Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Kye Gwan threat­ened yes­ter­day to can­cel the forth­com­ing sum­mit be­tween leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, if the U.S. “corners” them “and uni­lat­er­ally de­mands we give up nu­clear weapons.”

NORTH Korea threat­ened yes­ter­day to can­cel the forth­com­ing sum­mit be­tween leader Kim Jong Un and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, ac­cus­ing the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion of try­ing to force it “into a cor­ner” on uni­lat­eral nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment.

“If the U.S. is try­ing to drive us into a cor­ner to force our uni­lat­eral nu­clear aban­don­ment, we will no longer be in­ter­ested in such dia­logue,” First Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Kye Gwan said in a state­ment car­ried by state me­dia, as re­ported by Agence France-Presse (AFP). In that case, he added, Pyongyang would have to “re­con­sider” its par­tic­i­pa­tion at next month's sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore.

Af­ter an­nounc­ing that it was pulling out of high-level talks with Seoul, the North took aim at U.S. National Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor John Bolton and said it might have to re­con­sider whether to pro­ceed with the sum­mit be­tween Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un be­cause it doubts how se­ri­ously Wash­ing­ton ac­tu­ally wants peace­ful dia­logue.

The moves give the clear­est in­di­ca­tion yet of North Korea’s mind­set head­ing into the sum­mit, sched­uled for June 12 in Sin­ga­pore.

Though North Korea has been for the most part silent about its in­ten­tions for the meet­ing, the an­nounce­ments un­der­score two of its big­gest con­cerns – the fu­ture of the nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and claims com­ing out of Wash­ing­ton lately that sanc­tions and Trump's “max­i­mum pres­sure” pol­icy are what drove Kim to the ne­go­ti­at­ing table. But de­fang­ing Bolton, the most mil­i­tant of Trump’s ad­vis­ers, is now also ap­par­ently a ma­jor pri­or­ity.

“We do not hide our feel­ing of re­pug­nance to­ward him,” North Korea said of Bolton in a state­ment at­trib­uted by staterun me­dia to se­nior For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial Kim Kye Gwan, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press (AP).

In an an­nounce­ment is­sued hours be­fore the state­ment, North Korea said it was pulling out of talks in the De­mil­i­ta­rized Zone that were sup­posed to be held later Wed­nes­day with se­nior South Korean of­fi­cials be­cause of the mil­i­tary ma­neu­vers that be­gan ear­lier this week.

An­nual mil­i­tary drills be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Seoul have long been a ma­jor source of con­tention be­tween the Koreas, but the cur­rent ex­er­cises, called “Max Thun­der,” are par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive from North Korea's per­spec­tive be­cause they re­port­edly in­volve nu­clear-ca­pa­ble B-52 bombers and F-22 stealth fight­ers.

Mean­while, China urged ally North Korea to pro­ceed with a his­toric sum­mit be­tween its leader, Kim Jong Un and Don­ald Trump. “We support the im­prove­ment of North-South [Korean] re­la­tions, the pro­mo­tion of dia­logue be­tween North Korea and the U.S., de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the penin­sula and North Korea’s de­vel­op­ment of its econ­omy and im­prove­ment of its peo­ple’s liveli­hood,” Xi was quoted as say­ing by state broad­caster CCTV.

At a daily brief­ing, For­eign Min­istry Spokesman Lu Kang said North Korea and the U.S. should en­sure the sum­mit runs as planned and yields “sub­stan­tial out­comes.” “Only in this way can we con­sol­i­date the al­le­vi­a­tion of the sit­u­a­tion and main­tain peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion,” Lu said.

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