WH Spokesman on Whether Trump Is Open to Going to NKorea for Talks: ‘Highly Unlikely’ But Won’t Rule Anything Out

By Melanie Arter | March 12, 2018 | 11:54am EDT

(CNSNews.com) – White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that it is “highly unlikely” that President Donald Trump would be open to going to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-Un, but Shah wouldn’t rule it out.

“Well, I don’t think that that’s, you know, highly likely, but again, I’m not going to rule anything out,” Shah said.


Shah hailed the president’s success in applying “maximum pressure” on the North Korean regime.

“This president took office a little over a year ago, inherited a policy that wasn't working for the previous eight years. He adopted a policy of a maximum pressure on the North Korean regime. Over the last year, we've seen a lot of success,” Shah said.

“We've seen China dramatically reduce trade with North Korea. We've seen the United Nations impose some of the toughest sanctions on the North Korean regime. It's been increasingly isolated both diplomatically and economically, with dozens of countries chipping in,” he said.

“And in this context, Kim Jong-un spoke with the South Koreans and made this overture: they’re going to end or rather cease missile testing, cease nuclear testing, and they’ve agreed to not object publicly to the upcoming South Korea, United States joint military exercise,” Shah said.

When asked where and when the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-Un will take place, Shah said, “It’s going to be a time and a place to be decided. We don’t have an announcement right now, but we have accepted this offer, and we hope that it can be the part of an important breakthrough.”

When asked whether the North Korean leader is now open to denuclearization, Shah said, Kim Jong-Un has “stated his commitment to denuclearization to South Korea’s delegation.”

When asked whether Shah believes that the North Korean leader can be trusted on this, Shah said, “I think -- we think that Kim Jong-un is the only partner in North Korea that has any authority, that can make any decisions. So he’s the only voice, he is committed to -- or stated a commitment to denuclearization to South Korea. They’ve relayed that to us, and so we’re open to this invitation.”

When asked if there are preconditions on the meeting, Shah said, “They have to meet the promises that they relayed to the South Koreans, which is, again, ceasing missile testing, ceasing nuclear testing.”

“But are there concrete actions that they’ve agreed to take?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked.

“This potential meeting has been agreed to. There are no additional conditions being stipulated, but, again they cannot engage in missile testing, they cannot engage in nuclear testing, and they can’t publicly object to the U.S. South Korea planned military exercises,” Shah added.


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