Vice President Mike Pence issued a warning to North Korea on Monday, saying it would be “a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump.”
During an interview with Fox News, Pence discussed the Trump administration’s continued hope that complete denuclearization can be achieved in North Korea through peaceable means.
A summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is set to take place later this month. However, the meeting has been on shaky ground since Kim abruptly canceled a meeting with South Korea and threatened to cancel the summit with Trump as well.
“Is this summit with North Korea on June 12 going to happen?” Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked the vice president Monday.
“Well, as the president often says, Martha, we’ll see,” Pence replied.
“They asked for the meeting and we continue to remain open to it, but rest assured — the United States will continue on the path that we are on because this president has made it clear that we will not tolerate North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies.”
Pence said the president is eager to work with North Korea for a “brighter future,” but that complete denuclearization is a nonnegotiable if that is to ever occur.
“What the president has made clear is that we need, complete, and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. And there’s opportunities and benefits for North Korea once we reach that point of no return,” the vice president explained.
“President Trump has already organized support from Japan, from South Korea, from other nations in the region including China to organize the resources that would create a brighter future for the Kim regime, a brighter future more importantly for the people of North Korea.”
“But it all begins with North Korea committing to complete denuclearization,” he added.
Pence also made clear that Trump is completely willing to walk away from the negotiating table if North Korea backs away from its promises.
“There’s no question,” he said.
McCallum asked whether Trump was concerned about the possible embarrassment that could result if this process with North Korea fails after so much progress.
“I don’t think President Trump is thinking about public relations,” he replied. “He’s thinking about peace.”
The vice president then took a jab at former presidential administrations for their failure to deal with the North Korean regime, and promised Trump would be different.
“Truthfully, the Clinton administration, even the Bush administration got played in the past,” Pence said. “It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump.”
Finally, Pence said that while Trump is completely willing to walk away from the summit, “we hope for better.”
“We hope for a peaceable solution and the president remains open to a summit taking place, and we’ll continue to pursue that path even while we stand strong on the objective of denuclearization and the extreme pressure campaign that’s underway today.”
As to whether the military option would be back on the table if the summit fails: “It never came off (the table).”
See the full interview below:
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