Trump says meeting with Kim may be delayed

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US President Donald Trump said a planned summit with Kim Jong Un may not take place next month, despite his belief that the DPRK's leader is "serious" about denuclearization.
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US President Donald Trump said yesterday that a planned summit with Kim Jong Un may not take place next month as planned, despite his belief that the DPRK’s leader is “serious” about denuclearization.

“It may not work out for June 12,” Trump said, being characteristically coy about the prospects for the historic meeting in Singapore.

“If it does not happen, maybe it will happen later,” Trump said, as he began talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House.

Trump’s remarks were the strongest sign from him yet about the possibility of a delay or cancelation of the summit.

But Trump added that he does believe the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is willing to give up nukes.

“I do think he is serious. I think he is absolutely very serious,” Trump said of Kim.

“He will be extremely happy,” Trump said, if the deal works out. “He will be very happy.”

Earlier yesterday, about two dozen journalists from Western and Chinese news organizations arrived in the DPRK to witness the closure of its nuclear test site, an indication that the shutdown will go ahead amid renewed diplomatic uncertainty.

But the eight South Korean journalists who were initially also scheduled to participate were excluded because Pyongyang has cut off high-level contact with Seoul to protest an exercise with the US military.

The DPRK invited a group of media to cover the dismantling of the Punggye-ri site this week. 

The dismantling ceremony is expected to be held in the coming days, depending on the weather.

The DPRK’s offer to scrap the test site was seen as a key step in months to ease tension between Pyongyang and South Korea and the United States.

However, the improving diplomatic environment has hit a rocky patch, with the DPRK threatening last week to pull out of a planned June 12 summit in Singapore between Kim and Trump.

Journalists from the Associated Press, CNN, CBS, Russia Today and Chinese media outlets were among those seen checking in at Beijing Capital International Airport to catch the Air Koryo flight to the DPRK.

China Central Television said the group had arrived at the airport in the east coast city of Wonsan.

The journalists will stay at a hotel in this port city before traveling by train to the site, which is in the northeastern part of the country.

South Korea expressed regret that its journalists had not been included after earlier being invited.

“Nonetheless, the government pays due attention to the fact that the North’s pledge to dismantle the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, an initial measure for denuclearization, is proceeding as planned, and expects that such action to lead to the successful hosting of the North Korea-US summit,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a statement.

The DPRK has refused to receive the list of South Korean journalists supposed to participate in the coverage, citing the ongoing South Korea-US air combat exercises codenamed Max Thunder.

The annual air drills, which South Korea claimed to be defensive in nature, mobilized about 100 aircraft this year, which included eight F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets of the US Air Force. The radar-evading combat plane is used to secretly attack the enemy.

Citing the air drills, Pyongyang canceled the agreed-upon inter-Korean talks between high-level officials last week.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said the purpose of the Panmunjom Declaration is to end confrontations and hostilities of the past, while moving toward a new era of reconciliation, peace and prosperity by fulfilling all of inter-Korean agreements.

The Panmunjom Declaration was signed and announced after the summit between South Korean President Moon and DPRK leader Kim, the third-ever inter-Korean summit held on April 27 in the border village of Panmunjom.

Moon and Kim agreed to complete denuclearization and the turn of the current armistice agreement into a peace treaty by the end of this year. The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war as the 1950-1953 Korean War ended with armistice.

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