China holds the cards to a Trump-Kim summit

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United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has thanked Singapore for agreeing to host the unprecedented US-North Korea summit, planned to take place in June 2018.

Responding to the remarks in a telephone telephone conversation, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan congratulated Mr Pompeo, who was sworn in on April 26 after holding position as a Central Intelligence Agency director.

Dr Balakrishnan expressed hope that the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could contribute towards lasting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement on Wednesday.

However, a report from CGTN confirms the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as noting on Wednesday that it will cancel the forthcoming summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump if Washington seeks to push Pyongyang into unilaterally giving up its nuclear program.

It also canceled high-level talks due Wednesday with Seoul over the “Max Thunder” joint military exercises being held between the United States and the Republic of Korea, denouncing the drills as a “rude and wicked provocation”. These developments cast a shadow on the expected meeting and underlines a sudden return to the past by Pyongyang, after months of rapid diplomatic rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula.

“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,” DPRK’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by state media.

Pyongyang had “made clear on several occasions that precondition for denuclearization is to put an end to anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmail of the United States,” he stressed.

In that case, Pyongyang would have to “reconsider” its participation at the summit, due in Singapore on June 12, Kim added.

Pyongyang’s nuclear program is expected to be at the top of the agenda of the historic talks.

The country has long insisted it needs the weapons to defend itself against invasion by the US.

Washington has reiterated that it will press for its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization during the bilateral talks.

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