Trump says NKorea has made nuclear concessions before talks
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said today North Korea's Kim Jong Un has made nuclear weapons concessions before even sitting down for talks, while the U.S. hasn't given up anything.
Trump's assertions came before Friday's summit between North Korea and South Korea that's expected to pave the way for a historic meeting between Trump and Kim in May or June.
Trump told "Fox & Friends" his tough approach toward the North, and now his willingness to engage with Kim, had reduced the risk of nuclear war. He contended North Korea has "given up denuclearization, testing, research" and that "we're going to close different sites."
North Korea recently announced it will shutter its nuclear test site and suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and Kim has indicated he's ready to discuss denuclearization. That marks a dramatic shift from the high tensions of last year, when in defiance of world opinion and despite intensified economic sanctions, North Korea rapidly conducted weapons tests.
"I'm saying to myself wait a minute, all of these things he's given up and we haven't even really that much asked them," Trump said. He added: "We would have asked them, but they gave it up before I even asked."
But doubts linger over Kim's readiness to relinquish nuclear weapons his nation already has, and what he'd want in return. North Korea is already at the brink of being able to threaten the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, and views that capability as a safeguard against American aggression and a defense against regime change.
Trump, who often accuses his predecessors of failing to address the North Korean threat, has argued that the only concession he has made was his surprise decision last month to accept Kim's invitation for a meeting – the first ever between the leaders of the United States and North Korea during six decades of hostility. "I never gave up anything," Trump repeated.
Critics say Kim may see the summit as a way to burnish his international standing and legitimize North Korea's declared status as a nuclear power.