Pentagon chief sees ‘bumpy road’ toward North Korea nuclear negotiations

Pentagon chief sees ‘bumpy road’ toward North Korea nuclear negotiations
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Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE on Sunday cautioned that it will be “a bumpy road” toward nuclear talks later this month with North Korea.

Mattis made the remarks during a meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, according to The Associated Press.

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“We can anticipate, at best, a bumpy road to the negotiations,” said Mattis, as reported by the AP.

“In this moment we are steadfastly committed to strengthening even further our defense cooperation as the best means for preserving the peace,” he added.

The comments come after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE said his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on schedule, despite the president’s earlier plans to scrap the gathering.

“We’re going to be June 12 — we’ll be in Singapore. It’ll be a beginning,” Trump said Friday. “I think we’re going to have a very positive result in the end.”

Trump announced the cancellation of the summit, scheduled to take place in Singapore, at the end of May in a letter to Kim. But the president quickly expressed hope that the meeting between the two leaders could still happen.

South Korea's defense minister, Song Young-moo, during the meeting with Mattis on Sunday similarly urged caution, citing previous attempts to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear program.

“Of course, given North Korea’s past, we must be cautious in approaching this,” said Song, according to the AP.