Trump administration braces for big week ahead in foreign policy

Trump administration braces for big week ahead in foreign policy
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The Trump administration is preparing for what is expected to be a crucial week for U.S. foreign policy with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and continued preparation ahead of next month's summit with North Korea. 

The new U.S. Embassy is slated to open on Monday, marking Israeli Independence Day. 

The move is seen as the fulfillment of one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE's campaign promises but is widely viewed as controversial by the international community. Widespread dispute over the site contributed to the State Department's decision last week to ramp up security at diplomatic posts across the Middle East. 

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Israelis see the ancient city as their capital — sentiments Trump echoed in December with his decision to relocate the embassy there — while Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state

However, Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the new capital will help facilitate peace between the two factions. 

"It's a recognition of reality,” Bolton said. “If you're not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that's where the American Embassy should be, then you're operating on a completely different wavelength."

While the move has angered many Palestinians, the White House is reportedly working on an Israel-Palestine peace deal, but details of the agreement have not been unveiled. 

The administration is also closely watching heightening tensions between Israel and Iran. 

Iran targeted Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights last week and Israel struck back, launching dozens of missiles into what it said were Iranian posts in Syria.

The episode coincided with Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the multinational Iran nuclear agreement, another key campaign promise. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoRosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Pompeo rejects ‘good cop, bad cop’ characterization of Russia strategy Pompeo: 'Enormous mistake' for Iran to blame US, allies for attack on military parade MORE on Sunday dismissed the notion that recent tensions between the two adversaries were a result of Trump's decision on the agreement. 

"That's ludicrous," Pompeo told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." 

"It's ludicrous to suggest that Iran feels less constrained, when during the JCPOA they have now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh. They've now fired missiles into Israel," he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the agreement.

"To suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that has taken place during the JCPOA in Yemen, the rise of Hezbollah, all of those things took place during the JCPOA. Indeed, I would argue that they thought they could act with impunity," he added.

Bolton defended Trump's decision to leave the Obama-era agreement in the face of international condemnation, saying on Sunday he believes other countries will follow suit. 

“I think the Europeans will see that it’s in their interests to come along with us,” Bolton said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“And they may try to [stay in the deal], in part because I think despite President Trump’s complete consistency in opposition to the deal … many people, including, apparently, former Secretary of State John Kerry, thought that we never would get out of it,” he said. 

Trump, who has long railed against the Obama-era deal, defended his decision to withdraw from the agreement in a tweet Sunday.  

While administration officials are expected to monitor developments in the Middle East this week, they will also be preparing for the upcoming historic talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

The two leaders are expected to meet on June 12 in Singapore, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader. 

The high-stakes summit is aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, a feat that Trump has said would be his "proudest achievement."

Trump has touted the meeting, saying he expects it to be a success. 

“I think it’s going to be a very big success,” the president said last week. “But my attitude is: And if it isn’t, it isn’t. OK? If it isn’t, it isn’t.”

Kim, in turn, has reportedly expressed his willingness to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. In another historic meeting, Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month to commit to denuclearizing both Koreas. Details of that plan have yet to be revealed.

Administration officials, while hopeful, are proceeding with caution in their preparation for the talks. 

"We are not to the place yet where we should be remotely close to declaring that we have achieved what it is we want," Pompeo told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

"There is a great deal of work that remains. Our eyes are wide open with respect to the risks, but it is our fervid hope that Chairman Kim wants to make a strategic change … in the direction for his country and his people" he continued. 

"If he's prepared to do that, President Trump is prepared to assure that this can be a successful transition," Pompeo said. 

Bolton stressed on Sunday that denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was non-negotiable. 

“Denuclearization is absolutely at the core of it and it means not just nuclear weapons,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“North Korea has also previously agreed … to give up its uranium reprocessing capabilities, we’ve got ballistic missiles on the table, we’ve got to look at chemical and biological weapons." 

Lawmakers are also proceeding with caution ahead of the summit. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Graham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Trump should seek Senate approval on any deal he negotiates with North Korea. 

“I would urge the president if he can negotiate an agreement with Kim Jong Un, that he takes that agreement and sends it to the Senate,” Graham said on CBS.

Even if the U.S. is able to reach a deal during next month's meeting with North Korea, officials remain cautious over the peninsula's total denuclearization.

After a preparatory meeting with Kim this week, Pompeo said full denuclearization would require a "robust verification” by the U.S. and other countries.