NATIONAL

Trump reiterates need for NK to show concrete action

By Choi He-suk

US leader ready to walk out of unfruitful meeting

  • Published : Apr 19, 2018 - 14:45
  • Updated : Apr 19, 2018 - 14:45

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday hinted at his underlying hard-line stance on North Korea, warning he would boycott the planned summit with Kim Jong-un should the meeting appear unfruitful.

“I hope to have a very successful meeting,” he said in a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida.

“If I think it‘s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we are not going to go. If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

US President Donald Trump speaks at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Wednesday. Yonhap

In March, Trump agreed to the first-ever US-North Korea summit meeting, and high-level US officials have since been in contact with North Korea. The two sides are currently working on arranging the meeting, which, according to Trump, is to be held in May or early June.

The US and Pyongyang are reported to have held several backchannel meetings, and Trump has confirmed that Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo recently met Kim in Pyongyang. Earlier, the Washington Post had reported that Pompeo had been on a top-secret trip to North Korea over the April 1 Easter weekend.

“We hope to see the day when the whole Korean Peninsula can live together in safety, prosperity and peace,” Trump said.

“This is the destiny of the Korean people, who deserve and have gone through so much over the years. We hope it all works out, and we‘ll be trying very hard.”

However, Trump also reiterated that he would not “repeat the mistakes of previous administrations,” and that the US-led “campaign of maximum pressure” will remain in place until denuclearization is achieved.

Trump has been a vocal critic of past US administrations’ efforts to rein in North Korea, accusing his predecessors of opting not to do everything in their power, and of making concessions.

In place of dialogue, Trump has enforced a campaign of maximum pressure, which he touts as the reason for the apparent changes in North Korea’s attitude towards Seoul, and her allies.

According to Seoul’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong, North Korea’s recent actions show positive changes that contributed to the easing of tensions on the peninsula.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul on Wednesday, Chung said that the absence of military provocations since November, and Kim’s repeated statements regarding denuclearization hint at a change in North Korea.

Chung also said that the North appears to have a “more realistic view” of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, citing Kim’s “effective tolerance” of joint South Korea-US military drills.

Kim has stated on a number of occasions, including during his recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, that his country seeks denuclearization.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)