President Trump on Thursday said he was willing to give North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “the benefit of the doubt” over his threat to pull out of next month’s planned summit, insisting the talks could still take place.
“Nothing has changed that we know of. We have not been told anything. We’ll see what happens. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t we’ll go on to the next step. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.
His administration, he said, was still preparing for the June 12 sitdown in Singapore.
“Our people are literally dealing them now, making preparations,” he said, while striking a philosophical tone.
“ If we don’t have it, that will be very interesting. My attitude is whatever happens, happens. Perhaps he doesn’t want to do it. [But] we are continuing to negotiate in terms of location, where to meet,” the president said while meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, the former Prime Minister of Norway.
The president also repeated his demand that the North eliminate its nuclear weapons program — and also seemed to suggest that Kim’s newly belligerent stance could have been prompted by Chinese President Xi Jinping because Kim had a recent meeting with XI.
Earlier, the White House said again that Trump remained ready to meet with Kim despite the rogue regime’s defiant stance.
“Look, the president is prepared and will be ready to meet, and we’re continuing to move forward with the preparations at this point,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“I can tell you what we’re doing and we’re continuing to move forward in preparations. And the president, as we’ve said all along, will be prepared and ready to meet, and there’s really not a lot to add beyond that point.”
Trump and his team have a daunting to-do list to work through as they prepare for next month’s possible summit in Singapore.
The North threw a monkey wrench into plans for the talks this week, criticizing long-planned military drills that the US and South Korea are conducting.
Kim’s regime also slammed the administration’s demand that the North unilaterally eliminate its nuclear weapons program — and threatened to pull out of the June 12 sitdown.