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Amid uncertainty White House says US preparing for Trump-Kim summit

May 23, 2018 10:25 IST

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.

Even, Trump on Tuesday suggested that his historic summit with Kim "may not work out".


"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.

"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.

On Tuesday, 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.

"We're moving along. We'll see what happens," Trump said in response to a question.

"There's a very substantial chance that it won't work out. That doesn't mean that it won't work out over a period of time, but it may not work out for June 12," Trump said.

"You will know soon," Trump told reporters about the summit. 

"If it doesn't happen, maybe it will happen later...You never know about deals...I've made a lot of deals. You never really know," Trump said.

Trump said he believed Kim was "serious" about denuclearization as he aims to push ahead with the Singapore summit.

"I do think he is serious. I think he is absolutely very serious," he said, but declined to say whether he had spoken to Kim.

"They're hardworking, great people," he said of North Koreans.

"He will be extremely happy. He will be very happy" he said of Kim if the deal works out.

Sanders 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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