Trump urges North Korea to denuclearize ahead of summit

Trump urges North Korea to denuclearize ahead of summit
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE called on North Korea to denuclearize ahead of a closely watched meeting with Kim Jong Un to negotiate a nuclear deal.

The president said an agreement could help Pyongyang develop a “thriving” economy, saying there is already great potential.

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“Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize. The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un. We will know fairly soon - Very Interesting!” Trump tweeted Tuesday evening.

The president has touted his relationship with Kim since the two met last year to first begin negotiating North Korea’s denuclearization. They will meet for the second time later this week in Hanoi for a high-stakes summit that domestic observers say must show concrete deliverables for any further negotiations to be taken seriously.

Perhaps feeling the pressure to present a concrete win on a key foreign policy issue, Trump hit back at Democratic criticism that he was not making enough progress on North Korea, citing former President Obama’s inability to reach an agreement. 

“The Democrats should stop talking about what I should do with North Korea and ask themselves instead why they didn’t do ‘it’ during eight years of the Obama Administration?” he said.

The president dubbed his first meeting with Kim a success, saying there was “no longer a Nuclear threat from North Korea.” However, while North Korea released three U.S. hostages and has not tested any missiles since the meeting, Kim has not taken any verifiable steps toward reducing or dismantling his nuclear arsenal.