North Korea casts doubt on Trump summit, rejects denuclearization: Reuters, citing North Korean agency
North Korea on Wednesday injected uncertainty into plans for a highly anticipated summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
The reclusive regime said it will reconsider the historic June 12 meeting scheduled to take place in Singapore if Washington insists on Pyongyang relinquishing its nuclear weapons, Reuters reported, citing North Korea’s state news agency KCNA.
The news is the latest sign of possible backtracking by Kim following the ruler’s months-long international charm offensive that was widely hoped to clear tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier, the rogue state abruptly canceled talks with South Korea and threatened to walk away from discussions with the U.S. in protest over Washington and Seoul’s joint military drills.
Pyonyang will never engage in economic trade with the world’s largest economy in exchange for giving up weapons, KCNA continued, adding that North Korea rejects Libya-style denuclearization.
Libya voluntarily gave up its own nuclear ambitions in 2003 in order to get out from under economic sanctions. That country’s dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, was overthrown in a Western-supported coup and killed in 2011.
International discussions over restricting the North’s nuclear program are widely expected to be complicated by the fact that Pyongyang maintains a different interpretation of what denuclearization entails.
For the U.S., the term means North Korea giving up all nuclear weapons — but Pyongyang may agree to do so only if certain conditions are fulfilled, experts warn. Those prerequisites include terminating America’s military presence in South Korea as well as ending the U.S. regional nuclear umbrella.
Trump will remain as a “failed president” if he follows in the steps of his predecessors, KCNA added on Wednesday.
If Kim does withdraw from his meeting with Trump, it wouldn’t be the first instance of Pyongyang reversing on its commitments. The isolated state has duped multiple U.S. presidential administrations, each of which has passed the North Korea problem onto the next.
Under a 1994 deal with President Bill Clinton’s administration terms, Pyongyang committed to freezing its illicit plutonium weapons program but in 2002, the North once again began operating its nuclear facilities.