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Trump casts doubt on planned summit with North Korean leader

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Trump casts doubt on planned summit with North Korean leader

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland

 

2018-05-22T164905Z_1_LYNXNPEE4L1J3_RTROPTP_4_NORTHKOREA-USA-SOUTHKOREA.JPG

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he welcomes South Korea's President Moon Jae-In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday there was a "substantial chance" his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will not take place as planned on June 12 amid concerns that Kim is resistant to giving up his nuclear weapons.

 

Trump raised doubts about the Singapore summit in talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who came to Washington to urge Trump not to let a rare opportunity with reclusive North Korea slip away.

 

If the summit is called off or fails, it would be a major blow to what Trump supporters hope will be the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency, and a huge disappointment for the president himself.

 

"There's a very substantial chance ... it won’t work out. And that’s OK," Trump told reporters. "That doesn’t mean it won’t work out over a period of time. But it may not work out for June 12. But there is a good chance that we’ll have the meeting."

 

Trump said whether the meeting will be held as scheduled will be determined "pretty soon."

 

"North Korea has a chance to be a great country and I think they should seize the opportunity," he said.

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later told reporters the Trump administration was still planning for a June 12 summit, but he declined to predict whether it would actually take place.

 

Trump's Oval Office remarks were the strongest sign from him yet about the possibility of a delay or cancellation of what would be the first-ever summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea.

 

It was unclear whether Trump was truly backing away from the summit or whether he was strategically coaxing North Korea to the table after decades of tension on the Korean peninsula and antagonism with Washington over its nuclear weapons programme.

 

The original purpose of Trump and Moon's meeting was to fine-tune a joint strategy for dealing with Kim. Instead it has become more of a crisis session after Pyongyang last week threatened to pull out of the planned summit.

 

The White House was caught off guard when, in a dramatic change of tone, North Korea condemned the latest U.S.-South Korean air combat drills, suspended North-South talks and threw into doubt the summit with Trump if Pyongyang was pushed toward "unilateral nuclear abandonment."

 

"Trump doesn’t want to look like he wants this summit more than Kim does," said Bonnie Glaser, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

 

"It’s a smart move to say that he is willing to postpone," she said. "But to be credible, the president really has to be willing to walk away and I’m not sure he is."

 

MOON KEEN FOR SUMMIT

Aides said Trump has privately been wondering whether Kim is serious about the summit after the abrupt change in tone.

 

Moon told Trump in their private talks that there was no need to doubt North Korea's will to hold a summit, a South Korean government spokesman told reporters.

 

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said summit planning continued apace after what U.S. officials said were constructive talks with the South Koreans.

 

Trump heaped praise on Moon as an "extremely competent" leader despite some concerns voiced by U.S. officials that Moon might be too willing to compromise with Kim.

 

U.S. officials have privately expressed concern that Moon, eager to make progress with the North, may have overstated Kim’s willingness to negotiate in good faith over the dismantling of his nuclear arsenal.

 

Moon was optimistic about the summit in his Oval Office remarks. His national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters en route to Washington that he believed there was a "99.9 percent chance" the Trump-Kim summit would take place as scheduled.

 

Moon said he realized many were sceptical in the United States about the summit, "but I don't think there will be positive developments in history if we just assume that, because it all failed in the past, it will fail again."

 

Trump on Tuesday reiterated comments from last week, saying Kim's safety would be guaranteed and his country would be rich if he denuclearised.

 

But Trump said there are certain conditions that must be met and if North Korea refuses, the meeting will not take place. He said he would like a deal to commit North Korea to denuclearize over a "short period of time."

 

Before seeing Trump, Moon met with Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton and urged them to speed preparations for the Trump-Kim summit.

 

Trump reiterated his suggestion that Kim’s recent meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping had influenced Kim to harden his stance ahead of the summit.

 

"President Xi is a world-class poker player," Trump said.

 

Pompeo later praised China by saying it has offered "historic assistance" in the pressure campaign against North Korea.

 

The Trump administration is at odds with Beijing over trade. Trump on Monday urged China, North Korea's main trading partner, to maintain tight sanctions, tweeting that "the word is that recently the Border has become much more porous."

 

Tensions between the United States and North Korea escalated last year as Pyongyang tested missiles believed capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" if necessary and derided Kim as a madman, calling him "little rocket man," while Kim said the U.S. president was mentally deranged.

 

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick, Doina Chiacu, Makini Brice and Lisa Lambert in Washington and Joyce Lee in Seoul; Editing by Yara Bayoumy, Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-05-23

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It was too good and too quick to be true, Mr. ' i'll huff and puff and rain nuke missiles on your heads and blowe you to kingdom come' all of a sudden the bad boy is releasing prisoners, , visiting downtown Seoul, dismantling this and that and being friendly with high ranking US diplomats, just like his father and grandfather who were brutal and ruthless tyrants, this man can't be trusted....

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I suggest people watch the video of Trump's comments, the headline doesn't really represent what he said. 

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1 hour ago, ezzra said:

It was too good and too quick to be true, Mr. ' i'll huff and puff and rain nuke missiles on your heads and blowe you to kingdom come' all of a sudden the bad boy is releasing prisoners, , visiting downtown Seoul, dismantling this and that and being friendly with high ranking US diplomats, just like his father and grandfather who were brutal and ruthless tyrants, this man can't be trusted....

Jeez Ezzra, you need to take a breath. Your beloved stable genius will take care of everything and the whole world will live in peace ever after ...

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Posted (edited)

considering the history of the North Korean tyrants it was to be expected that Kim is lying and playing poker, cannot be trusted and never will give up his nukes - except he is forced to.

Edited by sweatalot
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1 hour ago, sweatalot said:

considering the history of the North Korean tyrants it was to be expected that Kim is lying and playing poker, cannot be trusted and never will give up his nukes - except he is forced to.

Kim is undoubtedly playing poker.

 

Shame the US has a weak President who tries to bluff after already exposing his empty little hand.

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5 hours ago, ezzra said:

It was too good and too quick to be true, Mr. ' i'll huff and puff and rain nuke missiles on your heads and blowe you to kingdom come' all of a sudden the bad boy is releasing prisoners, , visiting downtown Seoul, dismantling this and that and being friendly with high ranking US diplomats, just like his father and grandfather who were brutal and ruthless tyrants, this man can't be trusted....

If he will give up his estimated 20-30 nukes ,what does he have to offer ? NOTHING !

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6 minutes ago, AsiaHand said:

If he will give up his estimated 20-30 nukes ,what does he have to offer ? NOTHING !

But Trump promised him only good things if he does. And he should know what Trump's word is worth. And if he doesn't, he should just  ask the banks and so many contractors Trump has had dealings with.

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1 hour ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Kim is undoubtedly playing poker.

 

Shame the US has a weak President who tries to bluff after already exposing his empty little hand.

North Korea has an estimated 20-30 nukes ,so his hand is not empty but he has only a few number of missiles to deliver them .The US is not bluffing as Trump raised the pot by sending two missile carrying subs to the area.One of The Ohio class subs carries  22 Trident 11 missiles with multi nuke warheads in each.One sub can wipe out all of North Korea and we have 14 of them. Mr Rocketman"s earlier bet of dismantling his test site was found out to be of"false gold",as it was discovered that the test site was already useless as tits on a boar hog.So he will now puff up like a puffer fish to blow smoke at  the other Asian leaders telling them that the game was either rigged  in Trump's favor and he doesn't want to play anymore  or that he was just playing for "Funzies" and did not mean any of his bets.   You will notice that I did not mention about the 12 other war ships making up a new Navy  Task Force being added to the area at the time including a Nimitz Class  Carrier. (Of which the US has 10 of). NO Not a bluff ,and from a Strong President.

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BANGKOK 24 June 2018 19:58
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