Monday 20 August 2018

Kim begged for summit 'on his knees' - Giuliani

Donald Trump’s lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump’s lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Reuters

Rachael Alexander

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has boasted that Donald Trump's tough line forced the North Korean leader to beg to reschedule a high-profile summit after the president abruptly called off the meeting.

After the cancellation, "Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in", Mr Giuliani told a business conference in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

Ivanka Trump arrives for a press conference between US President Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Rose Garden of the White House. Photo: Getty Images
Ivanka Trump arrives for a press conference between US President Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Rose Garden of the White House. Photo: Getty Images

In a later interview, Mr Giuliani rejected suggestions that such comments might sour the atmosphere ahead of next week's summit, saying that the North Korean leader must understand that the United States is in a position of strength.

"It is pointing out that the president is the stronger figure," Mr Giuliani, who is Mr Trump's lawyer, said. "And you're not going to have useful negotiations unless he accepts that."

Insulted

Mr Giuliani said Mr Trump had no choice but to call off the meeting after the North Koreans insulted Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and threatened "nuclear annihilation" of the US.

"President Trump didn't take that. What he did was he called off the summit," he said.

But the atmosphere has mellowed since then with both parties agreeing to the summit taking place on June 12 at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore.

Mr Giuliani said Mr Kim quickly changed his position, expressed willingness to discuss denuclearisation and asked to have the meeting again shortly after Mr Trump's cancellation.

"That's what I mean by begging for it," Mr Giuliani said.

Mr Giuliani, who is the president's lawyer in the Russian investigation, noted that he was sharing a personal opinion and was not part of the US foreign policy team.

The announcement came a day after the White House revealed that the historic meeting between the US and North Korean leaders will take place in a luxury hotel on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa.

With preparations for the summit continuing apace, Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan was visiting Pyongyang yesterday.

Mr Balakrishnan, who went to Washington earlier this week, is scheduled to meet his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, and the President of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Yong Nam, during his two-day visit to Pyongyang, a government statement said.

While the summit in Singapore is currently scheduled to last one day, US officials in Singapore have established a contingency plan for a second day of discussions should the meeting be a successful and fruitful one, sources said.

But despite the hype prior to the talks, Mr Kim is unlikely to give up his nuclear weapons, according to former UK foreign ministers. The ex-ministers said they were "extremely sceptical" of the chance of a breakthrough at Singapore and feared the regime was playing similar games as in the past.

Margaret Beckett, the former UK foreign secretary, said it was "hard to believe" Mr Kim would give away his weapons. Her fears are in stark contrast to Mr Trump, who has talked up the chance of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula amid warming diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Inviting

Mr Trump is even considering inviting Mr Kim to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida if talks go well, according to Bloomberg - although he is willing to walk out if things go sour.

More concerns that the June 12 summit may not bring the breakthrough the Trump administration desires have begun to surface ahead of the Singapore meeting.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was set to urge Mr Trump not to forget his country's security concerns in his drive for a deal when they met for White House talks yesterday.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim's meeting in Singapore will be historic, but experts have said the event could be big on symbolism yet short of major policy breakthroughs.

Irish Independent

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