“The White House still hopes that the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump will go smooth, but Washington is also prepared for a tough negotiation process,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders stated on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, on Wednesday North Korea threw next month’s summit between Kim and Trump into doubt, threatening weeks of diplomatic progress by saying it may reconsider if Washington insists it unilaterally gives up its nuclear weapons.
“We’re still hopeful that the meeting will take place and we’ll continue down that path but at the same time we’ve been prepared that these could be tough negotiations,” Sanders said in an interview with Fox News.
“The President is ready if the meeting takes place. If it doesn’t, we’ll continue the maximum pressure campaign that’s been ongoing.”
Sanders also said that the North Korean statement is “not something that is out of the ordinary in these types of operations.”
“The President is fully prepared and fully ready to carry on in these conversations both leading up to and if the meeting takes place,” she said. “He’ll be there and he’ll be ready.”
Meanwhile, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency reported that Pyongyang’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Kye Gwan, condemned the U.S. national security adviser John Bolton for calling for the North to quickly give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that looks the same as Libya’s abandonment of its weapons of mass destruction.
Sanders dismissed the allegation.
“I haven’t seen that as part of any discussions so I’m not aware that that’s a model that we’re using,” she told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
The Trump-Kim meeting is scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.