Trump: U.S. still seeks nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATION & WORLD - BY ZEKE MILLER AND CATHER­INE LUCEY

WASH­ING­TON — Amid new uncertainty over his sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Wed­nes­day that he is com­mit­ted to press­ing for the coun­try to aban­don its nu­clear pro­gram as part of any meet­ing.

North Korea threat­ened ear­lier in the day to scrap the his­toric sum­mit be­tween Trump and Kim, say­ing it has no in­ter­est in a “one-sided” af­fair meant to pres­sure the North into aban­don­ing its nu­clear weapons. But Trump ap­peared to shrug off the warn­ing, say­ing the U.S. hadn’t been no­ti­fied.

“We haven’t seen any­thing, we haven’t heard any­thing,” Trump said as he wel­comed the pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan to the White House. “We will see what hap­pens.”

The warn­ing from North Pres­i­dent is sched­uled to meet North Korean leader on June 12 in Sin­ga­pore.

Korea’s first vice for­eign min­is­ter came af­ter the coun­try abruptly can­celed a high-level meet­ing with South Korea to protest U.S.-South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises that the North has long claimed are an in­va­sion re­hearsal.

Be­hind the scenes, White House aides tried to soothe South Korean frus­tra­tions over the can­celed meet­ing as they con­tinue to plan for the sum­mit, set for June 12 in Sin­ga­pore, as if noth­ing had changed.

U.S. of­fi­cials com­pared the threat to Trump’s own warn­ing that he might walk away from the sum­mit if he de­ter­mines Kim is not se­ri­ous about aban­don­ing his nu­clear pro­gram.

The di­rec­tion from the Oval Office to White House aides and other U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity agen­cies Wed­nes­day was to down­play the North Korean threats and not “take the bait” by over­re­act­ing to the provo­ca­tion, said a se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial. The of­fi­cial wasn’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss in­ter­nal con­ver­sa­tion pub­licly and re­quested anonymity.

Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John Bolton told Fox News Ra­dio on Wed­nes­day, “We are try­ing to be both op­ti­mistic and re­al­is­tic at the same time.”

Bolton, who was called out by name by the North for say­ing that the U.S. is seek­ing an out­come sim­i­lar to Libya’s uni­lat­eral nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment, said the per­sonal at­tack raised the ques­tion of “whether this re­ally is a sign that that they’re not tak­ing our

Don­ald Trump Kim Jong Un

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