The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Washington
US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Wednesday it was unclear if his summit with North Korea would go ahead after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the unprecedented meeting, a move that could deny him a potentially major foreign policy achievement.
North Korea threw into doubt the June 12 summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and Trump on Wednesday, saying it might not attend if Washington continues to demand it unilaterally abandon its nuclear arsenal. North Korea also called off talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday, blaming U.S.-South Korean military exercises. “We’ll have to see,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office when asked if the summit was still on, though he insisted he would not back down from his demand for North Korea’s denuclearization. “No decision, we haven’t been notified at all … We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything,” he said.
Trump’s muted response was in marked contrast to just a few days ago when he exulted over North Korea’s release of three Americans, welcoming them home with praise for Kim and an expression of high hopes that the summit would produce “something very meaningful.”
Trump’s aides – who, according to one U.S. official, were caught off guard by North Korea’s warning – were working on Wednesday to determine whether it was a negotiating ploy by Pyongyang or an attempt to scuttle the summit.
Cancellation of the summit, the first between U.S. and North Korean leaders, would deal a major blow to what would be the biggest diplomatic achievement of Trump’s presidency. This comes at a time when his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has drawn criticism internationally and his move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has fueled deadly violence on the Israel-Gaza border.