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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 1:35 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 1:35 AM (IST)

Trump-Kim summit in lurch

Trump-Kim summit in lurch
A man walks past a television news screen showing Kim Jong Un (R) and Donald Trump (L) at a railway station in Seoul. Reuters

Washington, May 16

The White House today said it is proceeding with the preparations for a meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un notwithstanding Pyongyang’s threat to cancel the historic summit on June 12, alleging that America was trying to push it “into a corner” on nuclear disarmament.

North Korea has threatened to abandon planned talks between Kim and Trump in June if Washington insists on pushing it “into a corner” on nuclear disarmament.

A statement published by the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said North Korea would never accept economic assistance from the US in exchange for unilaterally abandoning its nuclear programme.

At the meeting on June 12 in Singapore, the two countries were expected to discuss ways to implement their leaders’ recent agreements to reduce military tensions along their heavily fortified border and improve their overall ties.

The statement that comes after a brief hiatus in the war of words between Trump and Kim is likely to mar efforts towards building a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.

Reacting to the reports from Pyongyang, the White House saud it was “still hopeful” the summit will proceed despite North Korea’s threat to cancel it.

“We’re still hopeful that the meeting will take place and we’ll continue down that path,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. “At the same time ... we’ve been prepared that these might be tough negotiations.” “The president is ready if the meeting takes place. And if it doesn’t, we will continue the maximum pressure campaign that has been ongoing,” she added.

Earlier, the State Department too said it was going ahead with preparations for the summit as planned earlier. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Kim had previously indicated he understood the need and purpose of the US continuing its long-planned joint exercises with South Korea. — PTI

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