President Trump praised his own diplomatic prowess on Saturday in a series of tweets about his plan to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Trump says China is glad he’s seeking a diplomatic solution to the long-running crisis on the Korean peninsula rather than “going with the ominous alternative.”
Chinese President XI JINPING and I spoke at length about the meeting with KIM JONG UN of North Korea. President XI told me he appreciates that the U.S. is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative. China continues to be helpful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2018
Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday after the unexpected announcement that he was willing to meet with Kim face to face.
The meeting with Kim will take place by May, a historic decision — made by Trump alone — that has drawn criticism from some corners of the diplomatic world.
Trump has told confidants recently that he wants to be less reliant on his staff, believing they often give bad advice, and that he plans to follow his own instincts, sources told The Associated Press.
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Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that the in-the-works meeting between the two leaders is validation of the administration’s hardline approach to the rogue nation.
A mix of sanctions and Trump’s combative rhetoric have hammered Kim’s government into discussing “denuclearization,” Sanders said.
Trump said on Twitter that “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze.”
Worries persist, however, that the outcome of the talks will fall short of the concerns of neighboring countries like Japan, which has insisted that Pyongyang completely abandon its nuclear and missile development.
Tokyo had wanted a commitment on that by Kim to be a precondition for talks.
Takahashi Kawakami, a professor at Tokyo’s Takushoku University, told Reuters that three possible scenarios lay ahead: that Pyongyang agrees to denuclearize, that it agrees on a nuclear freeze, or that it goes back to missile launches.
“Of those I see the second as the most likely, with Japan’s calls for continued pressure sidelined,” Kawakami said.
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The region has been on edge over the past year as Trump engaged in a sophomoric war of words Kim and North Korea ramped up its nuclear and missile tests.
While Trump did not expand on what the “ominous alternative” could be, in the past he has threatened Kim with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after a phone call with Trump that Japan and the United States would continue to be “together 100 percent” and that he’d meet Trump in Washington in April.
Trump tweeted Saturday that Abe “is very enthusiastic about talks with North Korea.”