GOP rep: North Korea likely ‘doing a little bluster right now’

GOP rep: North Korea likely ‘doing a little bluster right now’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerSatellite images raise alarms about North Korean nukes Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks ‘Stingray’ spying prompts fears about surveillance MORE (R-Ill.) suggested on Wednesday that North Korea's threat to back out of a highly anticipated meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE was probably "a little bluster" to show that its leader Kim Jong Un is "still in control."

But Kinzinger also said that the threat, made late Tuesday night, was reminiscent of the unpredictable and erratic behavior that the rogue nation has long been known for on the world stage.

"I think they’re probably doing a little bluster right now, trying to show his domestic population that he’s still in control," Kinzinger said on CNN's "New Day."

ADVERTISEMENT

"It’s concerning to this perspective: this is the old pattern of North Korea, where they, on the one hand, come out smiling with some unicorns that they give to South Korea," he continued. "And then the next day, it’s like OK, we’re going to fight back." 

Kinzinger's comments came hours after Pyongyang warned that it could pull out of a planned June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim if the U.S. demanded "unilateral nuclear abandonment."

That threat followed a decision by North Korea to end talks with South Korea because of joint military drills conducted by the U.S. and the South, which the North called "provocative military ruckus."

North Korea's rhetoric took a decidedly harder line than it has in recent months. Since January, tensions on the Korean Peninsula have waned amid a series of diplomatic overtures and gestures that ultimately culminated in plans for a meeting between Trump and Kim. 

Last month, North Korea announced that it would cease its nuclear and ballistic missile tests ahead of the planned summit with the U.S. and dismantle a nuclear test site. Just last week, Pyongyang also released three U.S. prisoners during a brief visit by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Pence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE.

Despite North Korea's rhetoric on Tuesday, the State Department said that it would continue to plan the meeting between Trump and Kim, which is expected to be the first such encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.