China hopes Trump-Kim summit will happen on schedule; Pompeo says US still working towards June 12


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hold a news conference at the beginning of their meeting, in the Ben Franklin Room at the State Department in Washington, DC, on May 23, 2018.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hold a news conference at the beginning of their meeting, in the Ben Franklin Room at the State Department in Washington, DC, on May 23, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (AFP) - China hopes the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place June 12 as planned, its top diplomat has said.

"If you want to solve the moment now is the time, if you want peace now is the time, if you want to make history now is the time," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday (May 23) in Washington, alongside his counterpart Mike Pompeo.

"We look forward to seeing the meeting take place as scheduled and be successful" on June 12 in Singapore, Wang said.

Pompeo, in response to a question whether the summit will take place as planned, said: "We're still working, driving towards the date. I hope that it takes place. Chairman Kim requested a meeting. We - President Trump agreed. We worked to find a date and a location, we had it settled, and I'm hopeful.

"What I can say for sure is our team is preparing up and down the administration. The President will absolutely be prepared for the meeting as well, and I hope that we can have this opportunity, this historic opportunity to do something that would truly transform this global challenge that's been threatening the world for an awfully long time," Pompeo said.

The Chinese diplomat said Trump and Kim "have the wisdom to make the right decision and bring peace to the Korean peninsula and bring good news to the world." Wang said China considers it "necessary" to obtain the "denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula, and to take into account legitimate security concerns of the North when the time comes.

He also said Beijing will continue to "strictly and fully implement" the international sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council after a series of North Korean nuclear and ballistic tests in 2017.

 
 
 

Earlier on Wednesday, Pompeo added more uncertainty over the the summit when he said the US would walk away rather than take a bad deal.

In his written opening statement for a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, he said Washington is prepared to walk away from nuclear talks with North Korea if an upcoming meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heads in the wrong direction.

"A bad deal is not an option," Pompeo said in his written opening statement for a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

"The American people are counting on us to get this right. If the right deal is not on the table, we will respectfully walk away."

After meeting South Korea's President Moon Jae in on Tuesday (May 22), Trump said that while his summit with Kim is on track, it may take place later than planned.

"We're moving along and we'll see what happens, there are certain conditions that we want and I think we'll get those conditions, and if we don't we won't have the meeting."

"Whether a deal is made or not, who knows. You never know about deals. I've made a lot of deals. You never really know.

"It may not work out for June 12," he told reporters at the Oval Office, with President Moon looking on.

"Maybe it will happen later, maybe it will happen at a different time but we will see."