South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Donald Trump

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

June 12 North Korea Summit May Not Happen As Planned, Trump Says

May 22, 2018 - 12:59 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday told reporters the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might not work out on that day.

Trump said the summit "may not work out" for its planned date and might need to be delayed, and if it does not happen on June 12 in Singapore as planned, maybe it will happen later.

“If it does (happen), that’ll be great. It’ll be great for North Korea. And if it doesn’t, that’s OK too,” Trump said Tuesday afternoon. “Whatever it is, it is.”

Trump elaborated that did not like the change in attitude has picked up from Kim.

He said he detected a shift after Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for a second time in China. Trump says he hopes China is not influencing Kim.

"There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks after (second Chinese) meeting. So, I don't think it was a great meeting.... I think things changed after that meeting," Trump said. "I can't say that I'm happy about it."

CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott and Michael Wallace Tuesday that Trump still believes Kim is serious about denuclearization.

“In any major negotiation, there are doubts and some last-minute posturing. Last weekend, you had the North Koreans having second thoughts; objecting to the Trump administration’s demand that they relinquish their weapons first before receiving any benefits. China has complained that they are not part of the deal, which is probably not helped by a commemorative coin that the White House issued with Kim and Trump on it,” she said.

Meanwhile, North Korea pulled out of planned peace talks with South Korea last week, objecting to long-scheduled joint military exercises between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea forces.

North Korea has also taken issue with the advisement by National Security Adviser John Bolton that the North should follow the "Libyan model" of nuclear disarmament.

Some analysts say bringing up Libya, which dismantled its rudimentary nuclear program in the 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief, jeopardizes progress in negotiations with the North. Kim Jong Un took power weeks after former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's gruesome death at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October 2011. The North has frequently used Gadhafi's death to justify its own nuclear development in the face of perceived U.S. threats.

As to Trump’s remark about Kim’s change in attitude, Falk said it was all connected to Kim’s most recent visit from China. Trump called President Xi a “world-class poker player.”

“What he’s trying to do is shift the blame a bit, the president, to China, saying that China may be messing up this deal a little bit, and putting pressure on China at the same time the Trump administration is in trade negotiations with China. Now, China wants to be part of this, and the administration clearly sees this just as a Trump-Kim Jong Un summit,” she said.

Other powers see it as “a Trump, Kim Jong Un, Moon Jae-in, and Xi Jinping summit,” Falk said.

Meanwhile, Falk said, “About two dozen reporters from the U.S., Britain, China, Russia – including CBS’ Ben Tracy – arrived overnight in North Korea to watch the planned dismantling of the nuclear sites of North Korea. If that goes well, it may still move on.”

The Washington Post’s David Nakamura added that North Korea is known to be a “very unreliable partner.”

“The flurry of diplomacy from Kim Jong Un, you know, raised some expectations, and Trump then fanned those expectations by talking about a big breakthrough that he could have in Singapore and world peace and denuclearization, and that might have been premature, because not only is it hard to get there – even if you do have a summit, it’s just the first step in a long process,” he said.

Earlier, Vice President Mike Pence said no concessions had been given or offered to North Korea in the run-up to a June summit between the U.S. and Kim.

Pence told Fox News Radio on Tuesday that the U.S. remains open to the summit between Trump and Kim. Pence noted that the invitation to meet originated with Kim.

“He said it would be a great mistake for Kim to think he could play Donald Trump,” CBS News White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot and Paul Murnane Tuesday morning.

Trump was meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday at the White House for consultations ahead of the planned June 12 summit with Kim in Singapore.

Senior administration officials earlier said Trump has been focused on the summit's pageantry. Three people with knowledge of the effort tell The Associated Press that the president hasn't been deeply engaged in briefing materials on North Korea's nuclear program. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

There are also concerns that Trump has lost leverage by showing that he is too eager to have the meeting in the first place, Portnoy said.

Nakamura said negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea continue. It is not clear whether Trump has a backup plan if the talks don’t happen at all.

“Trump does not necessarily react well to being, you know, embarrassed on the world stage like this. Trump tried to suggest he’s OK either way; that the maximum pressure campaign that he’s talked about from his administration on the North, which relies on help from China and other countries to enact sanctions, would continue,” Nakamura said. “But experts are saying, ‘Look, you know, Kim Jong Un has reached out and visited China twice; visited South Korea in his summit last month with Moon Jae-in, and starts to break the pressure campaign already, and other countries have their own agendas here. So it’s not clear that would work.”

There is also the question of whether military options could return to the table.

“There had been some rumblings in January that some at the Pentagon and others were being tasked with looking into such ideas,” Nakamura said. “Now, the administration has said no, those were not high on the agenda, but they’ve not precluded any options. And so one wonders if this falls through, if we return to that sort of hostile stance that both countries had as recently as January.”

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)