US preparing for Trump-Kim summit amid North's threat to withdraw: White House

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12.

Published: 23rd May 2018 11:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2018 11:36 AM   |  A+A-

A woman walks by a huge screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (File Photo | AP)


WASHINGTON: The United States continues to prepare for the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the White House has said, amidst uncertainty swirling around the meeting.

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12.

However, North Korea has threatened to cancel the meeting over a joint US-South Korea military exercise. The US has said it was going ahead with the preparation.

"We continue to prepare for the summit, and if they want to meet, we will certainly be ready," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday.

"President Trump rightly stated that if North Korea agrees to denuclearise, that it can be a bright future for them. But we remain clear-eyed in these negotiations, but we continue to prepare, and we'll see what happens," she said.

Responding to questions, Sanders said the President has laid out what he wants to see: a commitment to denuclearisation.

"That has not changed," she asserted.

Yesterday, Trump met South Korea President Moon Jae-in at the White House in preparation of the summit. As he welcomed Moon in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that it will be great if his meeting with Kim occured as scheduled, but if did not, it will take place later.

"The conversations with Mon were productive," Sanders said. She said the president had spent a significant amount of time meeting both in person and having regular phone conversations with other world leaders.

"He has constant and regular meetings with his national security team.  This is something they talk about on a daily basis and will continue to in preparation," she said. Meanwhile, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert welcomed the North Korean announcement of plans to dismantle its nuclear test site.

"We saw as reporters went there and covered what the Government of North Korea had said was happening, the dismantling of a nuclear site. We certainly welcome the announcement of plans to dismantle its nuclear test site," Nauert told reporters at her biweekly briefing.

"I would go back to permanent, irreversible closure that can be inspected and fully accounted for. That is a key step in the denuclearisation for North Korea, and we look forward to learning more about the details of that," she said.


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