Trump pushes for denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula despite uncertainty around summit

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House Thursday

South Korea says military drills will go on

Trump's planned June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore is shaping up to be one of the biggest foreign policy tests of the Trump administration.

Asked if Kim is bluffing, he replied, "We'll see what happens".

Kim said North Korea will not be interested in the Trump-Kim summit if Washington tries "to push us unilaterally into a corner and force us to give up nukes".

Reacting to the reports from Pyongyang, the White House earlier said it was "still hopeful" the summit will proceed despite North Korea's threat to cancel it.

A high-level meeting between the two neighbours had been scheduled for Wednesday, but the North pulled out early that morning over joint military exercises between the United States and the South. A former Central Intelligence Agency boss said Trump had been duped and Pentagon experts had expressed cautious optimism, a polite way of saying a bloody dictator can never be trusted to give up what makes his very existence possible. On Wednesday, the President was briefed on additional statements from North Korea's disarmament negotiator rejecting the United States call for immediate nuclear disarmament and going after Bolton himself. Some experts speculate that North Korea might expect the U.S.to remove its military presence from the Korean Peninsula if it wants to achieve denuclearization.

In the statement issued by Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday, the vice foreign minister denounced several senior officials at the White House and the U.S. State Department, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, for raising, among other things, the potential for a "Libyan model" for denuclearization.

At a dramatic summit last month in Panmunjom, the truce village in the DMZ, Kim and the South's President Moon Jae-in pledged to pursue a peace treaty to formally end the conflict, and reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

President Trump wrote on his Twitter page: "I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting". In addition to scheduling a meeting, the North had also released three American detainees, detainees whom Trump claimed had been treated reasonably well.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday that KCNA, North Korea's media arm, said that talks with South Korean officials have been canceled in response to planned military drills with the US and that they are now reconsidering the June 12 meeting in Singapore.

North Korea also announced early Wednesday that it was "indefinitely" postponing inter-Korean talks planned for later in the day. And it looks like the North Koreans have started expressing those demands ahead of time.

South Korea's presidential Blue House said it would seek to bridge the gap between the Washington and Pyongyang.

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