Breaking News

Trump suggests date for North Korea summit 'may not work out'

President Trump told reporters in a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that while North Korea's Kim Jong Un is "serious" about denuclearization, the June 12th date for a summit is potentially up for debate.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said there was a “substantial” chance the summit “may not work out” for June 12, but that a decision would be reached soon. “We’re moving along. We’ll see what happens,” he said. “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later.”

Trump did not specify the conditions upon which the meeting would be predicated. The meeting between Trump and Moon came one week after North Korea suspended a meeting with South Korea over a joint military exercise with the United States, and threatened to cancel the summit with the U.S. South Korea has been instrumental in urging the two sides to come together.

The President also appeared to insinuate that Chinese President Xi Jinping may have tried to sway Kim away from the summit, saying that his recent visit to China may have changed his attitude. "There was a difference when he left China a second time." He called Xi a "world class poker player."

Meanwhile, President Moon commended Trump, saying that he's been able to achieve dramatic change in the region. "We're one step closer to achieving complete denuclearization on Korean Peninsula, Moon said, adding "all this was possible because of you."

In his meetings Tuesday with President Moonn, Trump hoped to gain clarity on North Korea's nuclear intentions. Moon, meanwhile, was hoping to shore up confidence for the Kim meeting, which he helped to broker.

Some US officials believe Moon oversold Pyongyang's promises when his government relayed Kim's invitation to Trump for talks in March. At the time his envoy said North Korea was "committed to denuclearization," but recent statements from the North have cast doubts on Kim's willingness to negotiate away his nuclear weapons.

That, in turn, has led to skepticism the summit between Trump and Kim will proceed. White House aides have grown pessimistic in recent days that the talks will occur, and Trump underscored the uncertainty on Tuesday.

Moon, who has urged a diplomatic path in the belief it could forestall war, arrived in Washington in a bid to bolster confidence that the Singapore meeting will be a success. He met with Kim himself last month to great fanfare along the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a historic encounter that Trump hopes to replicate in his own talks.

Those plans were complicated last week when North Korea issued a series of harsh statements condemning joint US-South Korea military exercises and threatening to pull out of the Trump summit if the US continues to call for nuclear abandonment.

US officials were prepared to press Moon on the recent shift in tone, hoping to determine whether it is a signal of changing intentions or whether the North is simply trying to test Trump's willingness to negotiate ahead of the summit.

Ahead of the talks, Moon's representatives projected a positive message.

No comments