President Donald J. Trump appeared nonchalant about a scheduled meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, suggesting on Tuesday that it might not happen.
“Whether the deal gets made or not, who knows. It’s a deal. Who knows. You never know about deals,” he told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean it won’t work out over a period of time. But it may not work out for June 12th.”
The meeting is scheduled to be held in Singapore. Trump said that he believed that Jong-un was serious about meeting, but that if he did not meet the set conditions, it might not happen.
“We’ll see what happens, whether or not it happens. If it does, that will be great. It will be a great thing for North Korea. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay too,” Trump said. “Whatever it is, it is.”
Previously, Trump has said that White House advisers had not heard from North Korean officials about canceling the meeting, but North Korean officials expressed frustration with U.S. demands of denuclearization.
Trump signaled to Kim Jong-un that he would benefit from denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, promising to guarantee his personal safety and invest a great amount of money into the country if a deal could be reached.
“We’ve talked about that from the beginning. He will be safe. He will be happy. His country will be rich. His country will be hardworking and very prosperous,” Trump said.
He pointed to the success that South Korea had reached with the United States as an economic and political ally.
“North Korea can be a great country,” Trump said. “I think they should seize the opportunity.”
The president again pointed to Jong-un’s second meeting with Chinese officials, suggesting that his eagerness to strike a peace deal changed as a result.
“I don’t like that … I hope that’s not true,” he said, describing President Xi Jinping a “world-class poker player.”
“I can’t say that I’m happy about it,” Trump concluded.
President Moon, however, appeared optimistic about the meeting actually taking place.
“This will be the first time there will be an agreement among the leaders,” he said. “The person who is in charge is President Trump. President Trump has been able to achieve this dramatic change.”
President Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong also appeared optimistic that the meeting would happen, during conversations with South Korean media.
“We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance the North Korea-U.S. summit will be held as scheduled,” he told reporters. “But we’re just preparing for many different possibilities.”