Seoul eyes '99.9% chance of Kim-Trump meeting taking place as planned'

Will Ripley CNN

Will Ripley CNN

"China must continue to be strong & tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made", he wrote in a tweet.

"Trump does not deserve a Nobel, because, well, I'm pretty sure that threatening national genocide at the United Nations - "totally destroy North Korea" - is a disqualifier".

Late last week, Trump warned North Korea it could go the way of Libya and Iraq and be "decimated" if it refuses to strike a deal.

Last week Trump said China could be behind North Korea's sudden threat to call off the June 12 meeting aimed at discussing denuclearization. The first North Korean statement that threatened to cancel the US-NK summit focused on accusing Bolton of pushing for unilateral, unconditional denuclearisation. The White House said it was going ahead with the preparations of the summit.

The coin depicts Trump and Kim, described as North Korea's "Supreme Leader", in profile facing each other in front of a background of US and North Korean flags. North Korean hackers are believed to be behind or have played a part in major debilitating cyberattacks including the WannaCry ransomware, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in 2017, as well as the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014. During then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to New Delhi previous year, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj convinced him of the need for India to maintain a diplomatic presence in North Korea by underlining that "embassies of some of your [US] friendly countries should remain there so that some channels of communication remain open". North Korea also pulled out of a meeting scheduled with South Korea after the start of U.S. However, North Korea has not accepted the list of journalists wishing to cover the dismantlement that the Ministry of Unification of South Korea recently sent to Pyongyang. Most importantly, North Korea reiterated its longstanding view that its return to denuclearization dialogue is rooted in North Korean strength and is conditioned on expectations for tension-reduction and diplomatic normalization with the United States. The front side shows busts of "President Donald J. Trump" and "Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un" in front of their respective national flags and the words "peace talks".

Punggye-Ri
North Korea rips 'denuclearization' narrative from Trump with flashy, probably meaningless test-site destruction

Diplomats and North Korea experts, however, say this was entirely predictable.

After mulling the rhetoric for the past week, White House officials now believe Kim was attempting to test Trump's willingness to make concessions ahead of the summit, according to a U.S. official.

Kim Kye-gwan's statement underscores Pyongyang's sensitivity to the Trump administration's messaging surrounding the summit and attempts to highlight gaps between Bolton and Pompeo as a means of preemptively deflecting a good cop-bad cop approach that might be used to maximize pressure on North Korea in the context of summit negotiations. However, since the summit was announced, Alperovitch has told CNN he expects that they would not launch an open destructive attack as they're trying to get the best possible outcome from the talks.

Outwardly, for now, both Trump and his team remain optimistic.

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