State Department says planning for North Korean summit still underway

State Department says planning for North Korean summit still underway

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Inspects a newly built catfish farm in Sunchon, North Korea last November, shortly before the country launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. (Photo: KCNA)

WASHINGTON—State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday that the U.S. is continuing to lay plans for a meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, despite threats from North Korea to call the sit-down off.

“We will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un,” Nauert said during a briefing.

North Korea’s state-run media reportedly raised the possibility of scrapping the summit over planned joint military exercises with South Korea and the U.S., according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

The secretive nation also said that they have called off high-level talks with South Korean officials planned for Tuesday.

While announcing Kim’s initial willingness to meet with Trump in March, South Korea’s National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong said that North Korea had indicated that they understood the need for planned exercises to continue.

Nauert said that the U.S. had not received any formal or informal notification from either North or South Korea that would indicate the summit was in jeopardy, but conceded that she had not seen the report from North Korea’s state media.

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12, an event that the U.S. hopes will pave the way for the full denuclearization of North Korea.

Trump has said that he is prepared to walk away from the meeting if he feels that the U.S. will fall short of it’s goals, but has nevertheless projected optimism, particularly in light of the return of three Americans held hostage by North Korea.

While departing the White House on Tuesday, Trump declined to respond shouted questions on North Korea’s statement.

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