“North Korea said it will reconsider a June 12 meeting with President Donald Trump if Washington insists on Pyongyang relinquishing nuclear weapons.”
North Korea on Wednesday injected further uncertainty into plans for a highly anticipated summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
In a statement carried by state news agency KCNA that was widely reported and translated by media outlets, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan said his country will reconsider the historic June 12 meeting if the U.S. insists on Pyongyang relinquishing its nuclear weapons.
The development is the latest sign of possible backtracking by Kim following the ruler’s months-long international charm offensive that was widely hoped to clear tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier, the rogue state canceled talks with South Korea and threatened to ditch the June 12 summit in protest over Washington and Seoul’s joint military drills.
Wednesday’s news “is classic North Korean playbook,” said Sean King, senior vice president at consulting firm Park Strategies.
Ongoing peace efforts, which include Kim’ssummit with South Korean leader Moon Jae-In last month, may “be moving faster than North Korea ever expected and this is sort of their passive-aggressive excuse to get out of it,” he continued.
Recent “unbridled remarks” from Washington prior to the June 12 meeting constituted signs of “reckless” behavior, Kim Kye Gwan stated.
Specifically naming National Security Advisor John Bolton, the North Korean minister said U.S. officials are “letting loose the assertions of so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment” and discussing a formula of “abandoning nuclear weapons first [and] compensating afterwards.”
That amounts to “awfully sinister” moves to impose on North Korea “the destiny of Libya or Iraq, which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers,” the minister said, stressing that Pyongyang rejects Libya-style denuclearization.