Trump Backs off from demand for Immediate North Korean Denuclearization
US president withdraw from demanding that North Korea should completely abandon its arsenal without any reciprocal American concessions.
Meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump opened the door on Tuesday to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
He also cast doubt on the diplomatic encounter planned for three weeks from now between President Donald Trump and North Korean despot Kim Jong Un .
"It may not work out for June 12," Trump said seated beside Moon. He added, "If it doesn't happen, maybe it will happen later."
"Frankly it has a chance to be a great, great meeting for North Korea and a great meeting for the world," said Trump, saying that the meeting "must" take place.
Trump’s hint of flexibility came after North Korea declared last week that it would never agree to unilaterally surrender its weapons, even threatening to cancel the much-anticipated summit meeting between Kim and Trump scheduled for next month in Singapore.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Andrews Base, Maryland, on Monday to meet Trump and determine whether Washington was still willing to go ahead with the summit after Pyongyang threatened to cancel it over American demands to denuclearize at once.
Moon’s visit to the US was originally arranged as a meeting to fine-tune a joint strategy for dealing with North Korea but has instead become more of a crisis session after Pyongyang last week threatened to scrap plans for the summit.
Moon’s government led efforts to resume dialog with North Korea and gave enthusiastic accounts of its encounters with Kim, offering Trump an invitation reportedly on North Korea’s behalf to a first-ever meeting between US and North Korean presidents.
Trump grasped the invitation as an opportunity to “do a deal” with North Korea.
If the summit is canceled or if it fails, it would be a major blow to what Trump supporters hoped would have been the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.
Meanwhile, foreign journalists have arrived in Pyongyang to monitor the closing down of a nuclear test site, which North Korea has promised as a goodwill gesture.