Trump suggests possible delay of summit with DPRK’s Kim Jong Un

World Today

US-SKOREA-DIPLOMACY-TRUMP-MOONUS President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 22, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

The historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore could be on hold. The U.S. President made the remark Tuesday, as he spoke to reporters alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

President Trump and President Moon were two allies sitting together, but not talking the same language. At issue is a planned summit between Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

The American leader suggested a possible delay, as his counterpart from Seoul talked as though the Singapore summit was still on track.

“There are certain conditions that we want, and I think we’ll get those conditions,” Trump said. “If we don’t, we don’t have the meeting.”

He added that “if it doesn’t happen, maybe it’ll happen later. Maybe it’ll happen at a different time. But we’ll see.”

Moon, meanwhile, said the world stood “one step closer to the dream of achieving complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and world peace.”

Trump talked of a changed attitude from the DPRK on getting rid of its nuclear weapons. At one point, he even pointed his finger at China, suggesting something may have happened at the second meeting between President Xi and Kim Jong Un.

But for both the DPRK and South Korea, Pyongyang’s recent reticence stems from U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who compared the current negotiations with the DPRK to those with Libya, which gave up its nuclear weapons research in 2003. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was later overthrown and killed in 2011.

The DPRK reacted angrily to that comparison in a statement last week.

“This is not an expression of intention to address the issue through dialogue,” Kim Kye Gwan, first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, said. “It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move(s) to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq, which had been collapsed due to the yielding of their countries to big powers.”

It’s not just the DPRK reacting with this type of sentiment, however.

Chung Dong-young, a former South Korean unification minister and lawmaker in Moon Jae-in’s party, described the development in battlefield terms.

“There are several land mines on the way to the summit between North Korea and the U.S,” he said in a radio interview. “One of those land mines just exploded: John Bolton.”

Trump is rejecting the Libya model, and said Tuesday that he was prepared to guarantee Kim Jong Un’s safety if a deal was reached.

But just three weeks from the planned summit, there are still deep differences on how any deal would be negotiated. The White House wants the DPRK to permanently scrap its nuclear weapons before lifting any sanctions. Pyongyang and Seoul prefer a step by step approach to build trust on both sides.

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