President Donald Trump appeared to signal a lowering of expectations for any agreement he might reach with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearization during their second summit this week, telling a gathering of governors at the White House on Sunday that "as long as there's no testing, we're happy," the Washington Examiner reported.
Trump, however, did say he has a "special feeling" about the upcoming summit and stressed his "very, very good relationship" with Kim.
"We see eye to eye, I believe ... What's going to happen, I can't tell you ... As long as there's no testing, we're happy," Trump said.
While Pyongyang has not conducted any missile or nuclear tests since 2017, there has been scant indication of North Korea taking steps towards denuclearization since the first summit last summer in Singapore.
Some critics have expressed concern that the president may feel pressured to go easy on Kim during the summit, with The Washington Post reporting that some of Trump’s aides skeptical that an agreement could be struck to solidify the vague tenets of the July agreement from the Singapore meeting.
“Trump seems to now define them not testing as a success. That’s not a success,” said former CIA analyst Bruce Klingner. “If there’s no progress, then at what point does the U.S. say, ‘Look, they’re stringing us along?’”
Another indication of the lowered pressure on North Korea was pointed out by CNN.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper quoted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying recently that sanctions relief will be made when "we're confident that we substantially reduced that risk," compared to Pompeo saying last summer that such a move would only be takenwhen "complete denuclearization" is achieved.
Pompeo insisted, however, that there was no change in the U.S. demands.
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