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

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

Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisGOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote Overnight Defense: Senate moves toward vote on bill ending support for Saudi war | House GOP blocks Yemen war votes for rest of year | Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget | Key Dem to leave transgender troop ban to courts Armed Services chairman bought, dropped defense stock 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' 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.