U.S. ponders Trump-Kim meeting after DPRK's fresh warning
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday it was unclear whether his upcoming meeting with the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un would occur as planned after Pyongyang's fresh warning to pull out of the talk.
People watch a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. [Photo: AP]
"We'll have to see," Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if his June 12 meeting with Kim will take place.
A senior DPRK official said earlier in the day that his country may reconsider the scheduled U.S.-DPRK summit in Singapore because of extremely provocative remarks made by American officials.
"No decision. We haven't been notified at all," said Trump before his meeting with visiting Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
"We haven't seen anything. We haven't heard anything. We will see what happens. Whatever it is, it is," the U.S. president added.
Trump also acknowledged that he would continue to insist on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The DPRK's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said on Wednesday that Pyongyang would have to reconsider whether to attend the Singapore meeting if the United States "only wants to press the DPRK to abandon its nuclear arsenal."
Noting that White House national security adviser John Bolton had urged the DPRK to abandon its nuclear arsenal first in order to receive benefits on trade, a similar stance previously taken with Libya, Kim said in a statement it was "not about solving problems through dialogue, but is intended to replay the tragedy of Libya on the DPRK."
Kim also stressed in the statement that "an end of hostile policies, nuclear threats and intimidation from the United States against the DPRK are preconditions for denuclearization."
White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders on Wednesday expressed certain optimism about the expected Trump-Kim meeting.
"We're still hopeful that the meeting will take place and we'll continue down that path," Sanders told Fox News in an interview.
"But at the same time we've been prepared that these could be tough negotiations," the spokesperson added.
Kim's statement was issued after a U.S.-South Korea joint military drill, dubbed "2018 Max Thunder," kicked off throughout South Korea on May 11.
The war games also triggered the DPRK's infinite suspension of its scheduled high-level talks with South Korea.