WASHINGTON, U.S. - Just as relations between the U.S. and North Korea were moving from aggressive and confrontational to diplomatic and debatable, U.S. President Donald Trump clarified that despite agreeing to sit down for talks with the North Korean leader, he might “walk out” of the planned meeting if talks are not fruitful.
On Thursday, while addressing a joint news conference, Trump said along with the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe that maximum pressure must be maintained on North Korea over nuclear disarmament.
Trump said that if his planned talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are not fruitful he will "walk out.”
Earlier this week, Trump confirmed on Twitter after reports emerged that the CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret trip to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un.
He confirmed that Pompeo had forged a "good relationship" with Kim and that the meeting had gone "very smoothly.”
Trump tweeted, “Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed.”
Speaking at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, where he is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe alongside the top U.S. diplomat, acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, Trump said, “Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”
Pompeo’s visit marked the highest-level contact between the U.S. and North Korea since 2000.
The meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, which was supposed to take place in May, was pushed and is now set to take place by June.
Earlier, the U.S. President had stated that five possible locations had been considered for the meeting and that none of them were in the United States.
Meanwhile, South Korean president Moon Jae In, who is set to meet Kim Jong Un next week, said on Thursday, that North Korea has expressed its desire for “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
Jae In added that North Korea has expressed that it is not seeking conditions such as U.S. troops withdrawing from the South first.
Addressing reporters, the South Korean leader said, “North Korea is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization. They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are expressing is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.”
He added that in a bid to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programs, big-picture agreements about normalization of relations between the two Koreas and the U.S. should not be difficult to reach through planned summits between North and South, and between the North and the U.S.
Earlier this week, South Korea even announced that it is considering how to change a decades-old armistice with North Korea into a peace agreement as it prepares for the North-South summit.
Jae In expressed that he saw the possibility of a peace agreement, or even international aid for the North’s economy, if it denuclearizes.
However, he pointed out that the summit had “a lot of constraints,” explaining that the two Koreas could not make progress separate from the North Korea-U.S. summit, and could not reach an agreement that transcends international sanctions.
He said, “So first, the South-North Korean summit must make a good beginning, and the dialogue between the two Koreas likely must continue after we see the results of the North Korea-United States summit.”
North Korea and the South are technically still at war since the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Meanwhile, trying to win the talks even before they have begun, Trump said on Thursday that if he did not think the meeting would be successful he would not go.
He added that if the meeting went ahead but was not productive, he would walk out.
The U.S. President said, "Our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearises. As I've said before, there is a bright path available to North Korea when it achieves denuclearisation in a complete and verifiable and irreversible way. It would be a great day for them, it would be a great day for the world."