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Trump remains cautious following N. Korea's threat to cancel summit

Trump remains cautious following N. Korea's threat to cancel summit

Posted May. 18, 2018 07:57,   

Updated May. 18, 2018 07:57


The Trump administration has taken a step back from its strong push against North Korea for Pyongyang's permanent scrapping of its arsenal of nuclear biochemical weapons, following the North's backlash. After the North went as far as to mention the possibility of cancelling a planned summit with the United States in a strong protest against U.S. national security advisor John Bolton's pursuit of a Libya model of denuclearization, the Trump administration mentioned a "Trump model" in an apparent attempt to soothe the North.

President Trump remained unusually cautious despite North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan's threatening remarks. Trump tweeted 10 times on Wednesday (local time) but did not mention North Korea. Asked by reporters if his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was still on, he repeatedly said, "We’ll have to see." He said, "No decision, we haven't been notified at all ... We haven't seen anything, we haven't heard anything." However, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearization by replying positively to a question on whether he still adheres to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

After all, the Trump administration sent only a refined message through the White House spokesperson without President Trump commenting directly on the issue in order to maintain rooms for negotiations with the North. "The United States is showing a cautious response as it views that its hardline stance received too much highlight in the early stages of negotiations," a diplomatic source said. "At a time when the North showed its sincerity by releasing detained U.S. citizens and promising to destroy the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, the United States' adherence to its hardline position could become a problem for its negotiation tactics."

Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com