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 MattisAllies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Trump nominates ambassador to Turkey 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 nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ 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.