Trump on North Korea summit: 'We'll have to see'

Trump on North Korea summit: 'We'll have to see'
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President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE on Wednesday reacted cautiously to North Korea’s threat to pull out of a planned nuclear summit with leader Kim Jong Un.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said his administration has received no direct contact from Pyongyang about its concerns with the summit scheduled for next month.


"We haven't been notified at all. We'll have to see," Trump said during a meeting with Uzbekistan’s president. "We haven't received anything, we haven't heard anything. We will see what happens."

North Korea threw the historic meeting into doubt on Tuesday when it scrapped high-level talks with South Korea and threatened to do the same with next month’s summit between Trump and Kim over U.S. demands that it quickly surrender its nuclear arsenal.

“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,” North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement published by a state news agency.

The North Korean official said Kim Jong Un was angered by national security adviser John Bolton's suggestion that the Trump administration could use a “Libya model” with North Korea, comments that the White House walked back earlier Wednesday.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was driven out of power with the help of NATO forces just eight years after negotiating a denuclearization agreement with the U.S.

Trump said he will insist on full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during possible talks with Kim, despite North Korea’s rhetoric.

“Yes,” Trump said when asked if a nuclear-free peninsula was still his demand.

The president’s measured response indicates he is trying to keep chances of a summit alive. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the U.S. remains “hopeful” the meeting with Kim will still take place.

“This is something that we fully expected,” Sanders said Wednesday morning when asked about North Korea’s threat. “The president is very used to and ready for tough negotiations. And if they want to meet we’ll be ready, and if they don’t that’s OK too.”

The planned June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore is one of the biggest foreign policy objectives for the U.S. president.

The U.S. and North Korea appeared on the brink of a nuclear conflict last year as the two leaders exchanged public threats and taunts while Pyongyang accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Tensions decreased earlier this year as Kim made overtures to Trump and South Korea in an effort to remove crippling nuclear-related sanctions, but they have ratcheted up in recent days as both sides publicly haggle over the possible terms of a nuclear deal.

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and the conflict between the North and South has vexed the U.S. for decades. Trump has publicly acknowledged a deal could be a legacy-defining achievement.

Some supporters have suggested he should earn the Nobel Peace Prize if he brokers peace and denuclearization on the peninsula.

“Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it,” Trump said earlier this month when asked if he deserves the prize. “The prize I want is victory for the world.”

Updated at 1:06 p.m.