Gingrich: North Korea talks ‘may not occur’

Gingrich: North Korea talks ‘may not occur’

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tempered expectations for a historic summit between 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 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying that there's a chance the meeting "may not occur."

Gingrich's comments to radio host John Catsimatidis came days after Trump announced that a planned June 12 meeting with Kim was back on. Trump scrapped the summit late last month, writing in a letter to Kim, "I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

Gingrich said Friday's meeting between Trump and top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol was a sign that Kim Jong Un had realized Trump was a "much tougher guy" than previously thought. Kim Yong Chol hand-delivered a letter from the North Korean leader to Trump in a symbolic gesture meant to ease tensions that led Trump to pull out of the summit. 

But Gingrich acknowledged that the two leaders were locked in a sort of diplomatic "dance."

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"What you're watching publicly is a dance. And the dance is going to go on for a while," Gingrich said. "The meeting may occur. Frankly, it still may not occur."

Even if the summit comes to pass, it may not result in the substantial breakthrough many expect to occur, given Washington and Pyongyang's historically icy relationship.

"If the meeting does occur, they may get a breakthrough or they may not get a breakthrough," he said.

Friday's meeting at the White House was the latest development in a flurry of diplomatic activity that kicked into high gear after Trump abruptly canceled the planned summit with Kim on May 24.

Since then, U.S. and North Korean officials have engaged in a series of meetings across two continents in an effort to salvage the prospects for the summit.

Still, exactly what Kim is willing to agree to in a potential meeting with Trump is unclear. The North lashed out at the U.S. last month and threatened to withdraw from the June 12 summit if Trump insisted on "unilateral nuclear abandonment."

Trump appeared to back away from such a demand on Friday, and instead held out the possibility of a freeze on the North's nuclear capability.