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Trump: Time 'Not of the Essence' in N. Korean Nuclear Dialogue

Hot Issues of the Week2019-07-21


U.S. President Donald Trump says his side is not pressed to quickly reach a nuclear deal with North Korea.

"Now they’re interested in speaking, and the relationship is very good. I think we’ve made tremendous progress on North Korea. And, again, time is not of the essence, but I think good things will ultimately happen."

The remarks came after the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that nuclear negotiations would be put at risk if the U.S. continues to hold military drills with the South.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Trump wielded both a carrot and a stick.

"We have the sanctions on in full. We’re working with China. We’re working with Russia on the border. And at some point — I’m in absolutely no hurry — but at some point, I think we can probably do something that would be very good for them and very good everybody and for the world."

Following his impromptu meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone late last month, the American president suggested working-level nuclear talks would resume by the end of this week.

Chairman Kim will not go forward if there are joint drills going ahead between the United States and the Republic of Korea. What is the U.S. response to that?

"We saw, of course, overnight the press statements from a person within the foreign ministry."

At the U.S. State Department, spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. looks forward to resuming negotiations with the North.

"They feel confident in the discussions and the meetings that they had with Chairman Kim at the DMZ, and we hope Steve Biegun and his team will quietly continue to make progress behind the scenes."    

She said when, where and how the U.S. has talks, whether it’s through U.S. nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or the president, is not going to be announced from her podium to ensure the team has space to do their job.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokesperson said Tuesday that Seoul and Washington are preparing to conduct a combined training program this autumn, noting that the drill has already been adjusted to work with ongoing diplomatic efforts.

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