White House downplays North Korean threat to scrap nuke talks

White House downplays North Korean threat to scrap nuke talks
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The White House said Wednesday it remains “hopeful” President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE’s planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place, despite Pyongyang’s threat to abandon the talks.

“This is something that we fully expected,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters when asked about North Korea’s threat.

Sanders also downplayed the possible consequences if the June 12 meeting in Singapore does not take place.


“The president is very used to and ready for tough negotiations,” she said. “And if they want to meet, we’ll be ready and if they don’t, that’s OK too.”

North Korea on Tuesday abruptly cancelled a meeting with South Korean officials over denuclearization and said it might call off the planned Trump-Kim summit next month.

If the talks are cancelled, Sanders said that the U.S. would maintain its efforts to impose “maximum pressure” on North Korea until it gives up its nuclear program.

The White House was also forced to walk back comments made by national security adviser John Bolton, who said Libya’s decision to denuclearize during the George W. Bush administration may be a model for Trump’s dealings with Kim Jong Un.

Bolton’s comments angered Pyongyang because Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was driven out of power by NATO forces just eight years after negotiating a denuclearization agreement with the U.S.

“This is the President Trump model,” Sanders said when asked about Bolton’s comments. “He’s gonna run this the way he sees fit. We’re 100 percent confident — as we have said many times before, and we all know that you’re aware — that he is the best negotiator.”