US Politics

White House is 'still hopeful' Kim-Trump summit will happen

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The White House is "still hopeful" the Kim-Trump summit will go ahead, after Pyongyang's threat to cancel it.

The White House is "still hopeful" the summit between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump will proceed despite Pyongyang's threat to cancel it, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

"We're still hopeful that the meeting will take place and we'll continue down that path," Sanders told Fox News. "At the same time ... we've been prepared that these might be tough negotiations."

"The president is ready if the meeting takes place. And if it doesn't, we will continue the maximum pressure campaign that has been ongoing."

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The North warned it may back out of the high-level summit - set for June 12 in Singapore - if the US pressures it to relinquish its nuclear arsenal.

"If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue," first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by state media.

In addition to brandishing threats over the slated meeting with Mr Trump, North Korea cancelled high-level talks due Wednesday with Seoul over the Max Thunder joint military exercises being held between the US and South Korea, denouncing the drills as a "rude and wicked provocation."

'Hope' from China

China also said on Wednesday that North Korea and the US should hold their historic summit as planned.

"The situation on the peninsula has eased up, which is worth cherishing," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

"We hope ... some of the high-level meetings that (the two sides) have been working towards can be held smoothly and ... results can be achieved," he said.

"Only in this way can the easing up of the peninsula be consolidated, contributing to peace and stability in the region."

Chinese President Xi Jinping has met Kim twice over the last two months, as Beijing warms to its Cold War-era ally following a chill in relations.

In a sign of the improved relationship, a North Korean delegation is visiting Beijing to learn about China's experience in economic reform and opening up.

Xi Wednesday hosted a meeting with its leader Pak Thae Song, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the North's ruling party.

Xi told Pak that China supports Kim's leadership and backs dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington, the official Xinhua news agency said.

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