US Donald Trump today suggested that his historic summit with Kim Jong-un “may not work out” even as he asserted that the North Korean leader was “serious” about denuclearisation.
Trump met his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the White House as the fate of the much-awaited June 12 Singapore summit between him Trump and Kim loomed large.
As he welcomed Moon in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that it will be great if his meeting with Kim takes place as scheduled, but if did not, it will take place later
“We’re moving along. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said in response to a question.
“There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out. That doesn’t mean that it won’t work out over a period of time, but it may not work out for June 12,” Trump said in the Oval Office where he hosted Moon.
Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12.
However, North Korea has threatened to cancel the meeting over a joint US-South Korea military exercise. The US has said it was going ahead with the preparation. “You will know soon,” Trump told reporters about the summit.
“If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later…You never know about deals…I’ve made a lot of deals. You never really know,” Trump said.
Trump said he believed Kim was “serious” about denuclearization as he aims to push ahead with the Singapore summit. “I do think he is serious. I think he is absolutely very serious,” he said, but
declined to say whether he had spoken to Kim.
“They’re hardworking, great people,” he said of North Koreans.
“He will be extremely happy. He will be very happy” he said of Kim if the deal works out.
Earlier, Moon’s national security advisor Chung Eui-yong told reporters that there were 99.9 per cent chances for the summit to happen.
“We believe there is a 99.9 per cent chance the North Korea-US summit (set for June 12 in Singapore) will be held as scheduled. But we’re just preparing for many different possibilities,” Chung told reporters.
“We’re trying to understand the situation from the North’s perspective,” he said when asked about changes in North Korea’s rhetoric.
The two leaders were scheduled to have a candid conversation – in multiple settings including over lunch at the White House – on how to make the North-US summit a success and produce significant agreements and how to best implement those agreements, Chung said. “South Korea and the US have been sharing every bit of information and have remained in close coordination with each other,” Chung said.
“We’ve had various working-level discussions on how to steer North Korea in a direction that we want, and I expect (Moon and Trump) will have great talks this time,” he added.
Chung denied the New York Times article reporting that Trump is now doubting the advisability of the June 12 summit. “During phone calls between our two leaders or talks between our National Security Councils, I never got such an impression,” he said.