WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is “not hopeful” that President Trump is going to be able to reach an agreement with Kim Jong-un after the North Korean government pulled out of a recent planned meeting with South Korea.
According to North Korean government officials, Kim might also cancel the meeting with Trump set for June 12 in Singapore.
“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-US summit,” said Kim Kye-gwan, a vice foreign minister, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
PJM asked Pelosi for her reaction to North Korea threatening to withdraw from the summit with Trump.
“It’s really important to try to talk, talk, talk rather than fight, fight, fight, but I think that Kim Jong-un would really miss an opportunity if he does not come to the table,” Pelosi said before attending ASCAP’s “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress on Wednesday evening. “I don’t have a lot of confidence in him, but I still hope and pray that they can reach some kind of agreement. But I’m not hopeful.”
Pelosi was asked if she had advice for Trump on how to handle the situation.
“I’ve always had advice to him to know his subject, rely on people who have greater experience in their arena so that he cannot have expectations that are unrealistic. He thinks, as presidents do, that they can make almost anything happen – but that’s not always true,” she replied.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, shared his reaction to North Korea’s threats and Kim’s decision to suspend talks with South Korea.
“This is the reason that the national security team isn’t undoing any of the sanctions until or unless he makes that change. His people are starving. Even China is cooperating in cutting off the flow of funds, so if he doesn’t come to the table now then his replacement will come to the table after he’s overthrown,” Issa said.
“The president has set a course and we stay the course. And if we stay the course, he is dried up from the money that funds his regime and, ultimately, after 70 years, this is the first time we’ve had this kind of discipline. And if we stay to it, unlike Iran, if we stay to it, then in fact we can bring him to the table or his successor,” he added.
Issa rejected North Korea’s claim that it’s suspending negotiations with South Korea over joint U.S.-South Korea military drills.
“No, they’re not; that’s a false claim. They previously understood them. They are historic and they really have – this is a trumped-up excuse not to meet with South Korea and for him [Kim] to look like he’s taking a tough stance, but ultimately his regime is crumbing under the restraint of limited funds,” Issa said. “So his choice really is come to the table now or somebody will come to the table later.”
“The reality is he’s the one in a box. And as long as the president keeps him in a box, which is very clearly what President Trump wants to do, eventually we will get to where we have a meaningful dialogue on real change,” he added.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) is holding out hope that the summit between Kim and Trump is going to take place as planned.
“I’m on the Foreign Affairs Committee and of all the challenges we face with China, with Russia, with Syria, with Iran, I think most people on our committee agree that the most imminent threat we face was out of North Korea. The progress we’ve made has been pretty substantial,” he said. “To have a North Korean dictator step into the DMZ for the first time since the 1950s, having met with [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, a potential meeting next month with the president, it could be big so it’s good. We welcome the progress.”
Fitzpatrick continued, “We’re getting mixed signals about whether they are going to back out. From everything we’re being told, it’s still a go. Until we’re told otherwise, we’re going to hold out hope that it’s going to happen.”