North Korea is threatening to reconsider Kim Jong Un’s participation in a summit with President Trump next month, saying it is up to the United States to decide whether it wants to “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”
The punchy statement comes a day after Trump suggested there was a “substantial chance” that he would postpone or cancel the summit, scheduled to be held in Singapore on June 12, if North Korea did not meet “certain conditions,” without elaborating on what those conditions were.
A close aide to Kim unleashed a torrent of invective against the Trump administration Thursday morning, calling Vice President Pence a “political dummy” for remarks he made to Fox News on Monday.
“As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice-president,” said Choe Son Hui, a vice foreign minister who was previously the regime’s top official in charge of relations with the United States. The daughter of a former premier, she is also thought to have direct access to Kim.
As preparations for the summit continue, Bolton and Pence have touted the “Libya model,” whereby Moammar Gaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons program in 2003 in return for sanctions relief.
The North Korean regime, however, remembers what happened eight years later: Gaddafi was overthrown and brutally killed by his opponents.
“If he is vice-president of ‘single superpower’ as is in name, it will be proper for him to know even a little bit about the current state of global affairs and to sense to a certain degree the trends in dialogue and the climate of détente,” she said in a statement released by the official Korea Central News Agency.
If the United States “offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts,” Choe said, she would suggest that Kim reconsider attending the Singapore summit.
“We will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” she said, returning to the military threats that were the hallmark of bilateral relations in 2017. “Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision. . . of the U.S.”
Last week, another senior Foreign Ministry official decried the Trump administration’s talk of “abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterwards.”
North Korea, founded in opposition to the United States after World War II ended, has harbored nuclear ambitions for decades, viewing the weapons as the ultimate guarantee of the regime’s security in the face of Washington’s “hostile policies.”
Although it remains unproven whether North Korea can marry its nuclear devices with its missiles, experts confirmed that the missile, which flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station, could theoretically reach Washington.