Trump willing to walk away from North Korea summit: Mike Pence

A meeting between US President Donald Trump left and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae In could decide whether the US president's much-vaunted summit with the North's leader Kim Jong Un goes ahead

Such messages from the North and Trump's statements he is ready to call it all off have heightened concerns about the success of the summit and prompted South Korean President Moon Jae-in to travel to Washington, where he was to meet with Trump in Washington later Tuesday. But Moon has found common ground with his American counterpart by flattering Trump publicly.

The North's decision to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has generally been seen as a welcome gesture by Kim Jong-un to set a positive tone ahead of his summit with Mr. Trump.

Yonhap news agency quoted a Blue House official as saying Moon would "likely tell President Trump what to expect and what not to expect from Kim". The two are slated to hold a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with only their translators, followed by a almost 90-minute expanded meeting with additional staffers, according to an administration official. The biggest sticking point appears to be the definition of denuclearization: US officials have repeatedly said they expect North Korea to accept "complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament", while Pyongyang is seeking a phased process that could include a reduced USA military presence in the region.

"This is the President Trump model".

"The reality is that we hope for a peaceable solution", Pence said.

But the meeting has already hit diplomatic bumps. "He's said 'I will sit down personally to avoid a war with North Korea, I'm going to get out of a bad deal with Iran to get a better deal'".

"It appears to be technically hard (for the South Korean reporters) to make a trip to the North today", a government official said.

Trump and Moon have a cordial, but not overly friendly relationship, according to administration officials and outside experts tracking their interactions. "But there's just so much that could go off the rails here when and if Trump does, in fact, go to Singapore", said Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.




Trump hasn't always been on such friendly terms with South Korea.

Chung Eui-yong, top security advisor for President Moon Jae-in, told reporters on a flight to Washington that South Korea now had 99.9 percent of expectations for the DPRK-U.S. summit to be held as agreed upon though the country was preparing for several possibilities, according to the Blue House.

"It's hard to have a really good and strong relationship with the leader of a country who you think is totally screwing you", the former administration official said.

Trump tweeted Monday he wanted "North Korea to be VERY successful, but only after signing!" referring to the signing of a denuclearization deal at the June 12 summit, signaling that hosting the summit is not off the table. Last month, he suggested that Trump should win the lauded Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. The US has maintained nuclear weapons without testing them for decades.

I think the coin does a great job of capturing Trump's waddle.

There's good reason to believe that Moon's handling of potential talks with North Korea - and, with that, his handling of Trump - has helped boost those numbers. A collapse could also reignite Trump's combative rhetoric against Kim, whom he referred to past year as "Little Rocket Man", and dramatically increase the odds of a military conflict that would engulf the peninsula.

The change in tone from North Korea last week went from that the all-smiles meetings between Kim and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to the regime's chief negotiator Kim Kye Gwan issuing a statement saying he is "totally disappointed" by recent "extremely unjust" comments from US officials and singling out the American demand that North Korea give up all its nuclear weapons before getting anything in return.

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