The U.S. says it was caught off guard by the threats from the DPRK. But, the White House is remaining hopeful that the summit between the U.S. President and the leader of the DPRK will go ahead.
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
On Wednesday, U.S. Donald Trump responded to suggestions from Pyongyang that it may cancel next month’s historic summit between him and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.
But the American leader offered little insight into the new development.
As he welcomed his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the White House for a morning meeting, several journalists yelled questions to Trump about the DPRK. That was not unusual. Trump responded in just a few words.
“We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Then, one reporter specifically asked if the president will still insist on denuclearization by the DPRK. Trump said: yes.
The U.S. President, himself, has been behind a lot of the hype surrounding the summit. But on Wednesday, the White House played down any notion it was surprised by the DPRK’s move.
“The President is very used to and ready for tough negotiations, and if they want to meet, we’ll be ready, and if they don’t, that’s okay, too,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “And we’ll continue with the campaign of maximum pressure if that’s the case.”
Indeed, it’s that so-called maximum pressure campaign — tough talk and tough sanctions — that the White House believes is bringing the DPRK to the table in the first place. The plan, they say, is to prepare for talks without letting up.
Next week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will arrive in Washington for his third time meeting with Trump. It’s Moon’s first meeting with Trump since Moon met in April with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. Moon’s visit will come just as the U.S. and South Korea wrap up their spring military drills. Those are they joint military exercises that have angered Pyongyang.
The DPRK also said it was “totally disappointed” by the reckless rhetoric coming out of Trump’s new national security adviser John Bolton. Bolton has suggested that the so-called “Libya model” – in which the U.S. convinced Tripoli to abandon its clandestine nuclear program – could work on Pyongyang. Libya’s leader, of course, was captured and hanged in 2011.
Steve Pomper on fate of US-DPRK summit
The DPRK says military drills between the ROK and the United States have put the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in jeopardy. Steve Pomper is the Director of the International Crisis Group’s U.S. Program. He also served as the National Security Council’s Director for Multi-lateral Affairs during the Obama Administration. He spoke with CGTN’s Mike Walter about the likelihood the June 12 summit in Singapore will take place.