UPDATE 2 – Trump suggests summit with North Korea may face delay


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – A U.S.-North Korea summit planned for June 12 in Singapore may be delayed amid heightened tensions, President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday.

Addressing reporters at the White House alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump said the meeting "may not work out for" the originally agreed-upon date.

“If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later,” Trump said. "There are certain conditions we want to happen. I think we'll get those conditions. And if we don't, we won't have the meeting."

Also addressing reporters, Moon said in remarks translated from Korean that the "fate and the future" of the Korean Peninsula hinges on the talks.

Announced amid unusually warm inter-Korean relations last month, Pyongyang is set to dismantle its Punggye-ri site — where it has carried out all six of its nuke tests to date –between Wednesday and Friday, depending on the weather.

On the way to the U.S., Moon's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said Seoul believes "there is a 99.9 percent chance" the summit will take place as planned.

Following Trump's comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at the State Department the U.S. will "be ready in the event" the meeting goes ahead on June 12.

He declined to give odds on the likelihood the summit occurs as planned, however, but said the North would benefit from the U.S.'s economic investment should it fully abandon its nuclear program.

"If we get this right and we get the denuclearization right, America would be quite capable of delivering them with lots of things that would make life better for the North Korean people," he said.

But last week, Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, drew Pyongyang's ire after suggesting a "Libya model" should be applied to North Korea. Bolton was referring to the North African country's 2003 denuclearization in exchange for promised economic benefits.

But Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed and overthrown less than a decade later in 2011 following a concerted military campaign by the West in support of the country's rebels.

In addition to angering North Korea, Bolton's comments have been viewed as extremely unhelpful by the South, and Trump himself struck down the idea last week, telling reporters "the Libyan model isn't a model that we have at all when we're thinking of North Korea".

Trump went one step further during his comments Tuesday, saying he will guarantee North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's safety should North Korea denuclearize.

"We will guarantee his safety. And we've talked about that from the beginning," Trump said. "He will be safe, he will be happy, his country will be rich, his country will be hardworking and very prosperous."

Trump and Moon's meeting at the White House is scheduled to take roughly two hours, during which time the leaders are expected to hold a bilateral meeting in addition to a larger working lunch with their top advisers.