White House still hopeful for Trump-Kim summit
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, May 7, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) talks during a summit at the Peace House on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the border village of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, April 27, 2018, and US President Donald J. Trump (R) speaks on the South Lawn of the White House before departing by Marine One in Washington, DC, USA, May 4, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL / MICHAEL REYNOLDS
A F16 fighter (top) of the US Air Force takes off during the Seventh Air Force and the 8th Fighter Wing Max Thunder exercise at the eighth Fighter Wing in Gunsan, South Korea, April 20, 2017. EPA-EFE FILE/JEON HEON-KYUN
Washington, May 16 (efe-epa).- The White House is still hopeful that the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place, after Pyongyang threatened to cancel the meeting, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.
"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 during an interview on Fox News.
The historic meeting between Trump and Kim is scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
Sanders was commenting on a report published Tuesday by the South Korean Yonhap news agency that said North Korea had canceled talks scheduled for May 16 with Seoul and had threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim summit due to the joint US-South Korean military exercises currently taking place.
"The president is ready if the meeting takes place, and if it doesn't we'll continue the maximum pressure campaign that's been ongoing," Sanders added.
According to Yonhap, citing North Korea's KCNA official news agency, Pyongyang considers the annual "Max Thunder" military drills carried out by the United States and South Korea to be a rehearsal for an invasion and an "intentional military provocation."
The Trump-Kim summit would be the first time that the leaders of the US and North Korea meet after nearly 70 years since the start of the 1950-1953 Korean War and after more than 25 years of failed negotiations.
The summit would mean a complete change of direction in the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang since Trump was sworn in, as tensions between the two countries escalated last year to the point that the US president threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea in his first address to the United Nations general assembly.