World

US ‘still hopeful’ Trump will get his Kim summit after North threatens to pull out

China has urged ally North Korea to proceed with a historic summit between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President Donald Trump, amid the North's threats to scrap the meeting.

Key points:

  • First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan says North Korea has no interest in a 'one-sided' summit with the US
  • The North also abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korea
  • The minister said the summit would only go ahead if the US came 'with a truthful intent to improve relations'

The call came as President Xi Jinping met with a delegation from North Korea's ruling Worker's Party, at which he expressed support for the North's avowed new emphasis on economic development along with improving relations with South Korea.

"We support the improvement of North-South [Korean] relations, the promotion of dialogue between North Korea and the US, denuclearisation on the peninsula and North Korea's development of its economy and improvement of its people's livelihood," Mr Xi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV.

China urges North Korea and US to meet halfway

At a daily briefing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said North Korea and the US should ensure the summit ran as planned and yielded "substantial outcomes".

"Only in this way can we consolidate the alleviation of the situation and maintain peace and stability in the region," Mr Lu said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Trump administration was "still hopeful"that the planned summit with North Korea would take place.

Ms Sanders said threats from the North to scrap the meeting were "something that we fully expected".

She said Mr Trump was "ready for very tough negotiations", adding "if they want to meet, we'll be ready and if they don't that's OK".

Ms Sanders said if there was no meeting, the US would "continue with the campaign of maximum pressure".

Mr Kim and Mr Trump are due to meet in Singapore on June 12, but North Korea threatened to withdraw, saying it has no interest in a "one-sided" meeting meant to pressure it into abandoning its nuclear weapons.

North Korea rejects 'Libyan model' of denuclearisation

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at a conference for the Workers' Party of Korea

The statement by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday came hours after the North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korea and threatened to do the same with the planned summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.

The minister criticised recent comments by Mr Trump's top security adviser, John Bolton, and other US officials who had been talking about how the North should follow the "Libyan model" of nuclear disarmament and provide a, "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement".

He also criticised other US comments that the North should completely abandon not only its nuclear weapons and missiles but also its biological and chemical weapons.

"We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-US summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations," he said.

"But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-US summit meeting."

Some analysts said bringing up Libya, which dismantled its rudimentary nuclear program in the 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief, would risk derailing any progress in negotiations with the North.

The North Korean leader took power weeks after former Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi's gruesome death at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October, 2011.

The North has frequently used Mr Gaddafi's death to justify its own nuclear development in the face of perceived US threats.

ABC/Wires

Leave a Reply