WASHINGTON — President Trump said “we’ll have to see” if the highly touted summit with dictator Kim Jong-un, which is scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, will go forward as planned after North Korea threatened to pull out of talks.
North Korea expressed anger over regularly scheduled military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, Max Thunder, that reportedly involved B-52 bombers and F-15K jets.
Pyongyang also wants the U.S. to drop any push toward North Korean denuclearization.
“If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit,” said North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
With what happened to late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi likely on their minds, North Korea also slammed U.S. officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, for suggesting a “Libya model” of denuclearization. “We don’t hide the repulsion toward him now,” the North Korean government said today of Bolton.
Kim called the Libya comparison “stupid” because Libya was at the early stages of nuclear development while North Korea has at least, according to the Arms Control Association, 10-20 nuclear warheads, the materials for 30-60 nuclear weapons, and advanced chemical and bioweapon programs.
“The U.S. is clamoring that they will offer economic rewards and benefits if we abandon nuclear arsenals,” Kim said. “But we’ve never built our economy while having expectations on the U.S, and we will never make such deal.”
A statement issued by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency ripped South Korea for allowing “human scum to brazenly hurl mud at the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK” in their national assembly, adding that “there is a limit in showing goodwill and offering opportunity.”
“The south Korean authorities, lost to all senses, should be held wholly accountable for the scuttled north-south high-level talks and the difficulties and obstacles in the way of the north-south relations,” the statement continued. “The U.S. will have to think twice about the fate of the DPRK-U.S. summit now on high agenda before a provocative military racket against the DPRK in league with the south Korean authorities.”
The White House was reportedly caught off guard by North Korea’s backlash. The State Department said Tuesday that the summit planning would continue.
At an Oval Office meeting with the president of Uzbekistan today, Trump was asked if the summit can be salvaged.
“No decision. We haven’t been notified at all. We’ll have to see,” Trump replied.
“We haven’t seen anything. We haven’t heard anything. We will see what happens. Whatever it is, it is,” he added.