The North Korean nuclear crisis is a long way from being resolved, US President Donald Trump said on Sunday, striking a cautious note a day after the North’s pledge to end its nuclear tests raised hopes for some breakthrough on the Korean peninsula.
“We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won’t – only time will tell,” Trump said on Twitter, Reuters reports.
North Korea said on Saturday it was suspending nuclear and missile tests and scrapping its nuclear test site, and instead pursuing economic growth and peace.
In a tweet minutes before he tempered enthusiasm about the North’s statement, Trump interpreted it as a pledge to denuclearize: “Wow, we haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!”
However, Kim’s announcement did not include a commitment to scrap existing nuclear weapons and missiles, and there are doubts he would ever give up the nuclear arsenal his country has been developing for decades, Reuters noted.
Trump administration officials told the Wall Street Journal that the US will not grant meaningful sanctions relief before Pyongyang substantially dismantles its nuclear programs.
Kim is expected to meet Trump in late May or early June, the first meeting between sitting leaders of the two countries.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s nominee to become the next US secretary of state, secretly visited North Korea and met with Kim to discuss the summit three weeks ago.
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Washington’s goal remains “full denuclearization” in which Pyongyang no longer has nuclear weapons.
North Korea had in the past repeatedly reneged on denuclearization agreements, the latest in 2012 when Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket after agreeing to a moratorium on missile testing, officials noted.
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