WASHINGTON — The Trump administration declared Wednesday that it's up to North Korea to follow through on its threats to cancel a summit with Kim Jong Un, saying the United States remains prepared to meet.
"We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters during a photo opportunity with the president of Uzbekistan, adding that he will insist on North Korean "denuclearization" as a condition of talks.
Earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the North Koreans: "If they want to meet we’ll be ready and if they don’t, that’s OK too."
Suggesting that the threats by Kim's government may be pre-summit posturing, Sanders also said, "this is something that we fully expected," and that the administration remains "hopeful" the June 12 meeting will happen.
Trump and Sanders both said the administration has not received formal notification from the North Koreans about potential problems with the summit.
Hours after protesting U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, the North Koreans issued a second threat to cancel the Trump-Kim meeting by rejecting the idea that they would unilaterally give up nuclear weapons, saying their country would end up like Libya or Iraq.
"If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit," said the translated statement attributed to Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs.
Trump announced last week he would meet with Kim June 12 in Singapore to discuss an agreement on nuclear weapons. For months, the American president has urged China and other countries to cut off economic aid to North Korea until Kim gives up his weapons programs.