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May 30, 2018

Arizona congressmen say Trump-Kim summit could be pushed past June

PHOENIX — Two Arizona congressmen said Wednesday they were hopeful that President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would eventually hold a summit, even after the president pulled out of the event earlier this month.

“There’s a tremendous amount of hope. I think there’s a level of trying to find trust within the process,” U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News.

“It’s obvious that that’s going to be hard and we need to be prepared for both eventualities, summit or no summit. At this time, I don’t think anybody can identify whether we are going to have one or not.”

O’Halleran, who recently traveled to South Korea to meet with military officials and tour the border, said he believes a Wednesday meeting in New York between top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be “fruitful” but said there has been no indication that the country will give up their nuclear weapons.

“Our history with North Korea is one of on-again, off-again, no verification, lack of follow-through on their part,” he said.

“Right now there’s hope but obviously — going back to Ronald Reagan — it’s trust and verify and that’s going to be where the rubber meets the road. How are they going to allow verification of what they say they’re willing to do? And what they’re willing to do is not exactly, at this point in time, something the American public or the government is going to accept as a final offer.”

U.S. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), who was also on the South Korea trip, told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” that there was an “incredible optimism” that the summit would still be held, but that it could extend past the scheduled date of June 12.

“I will ask everyone to understand that this is going to be an emotional rollercoaster,” Schweikert said.

“There are decades and decades of mistrust [with North Korea]. We have to sort of work through what we want from them, what they’re willing to give us, and keep pushing and keep pushing.

“There are going to be highs and lows and this may take many, many, months.”

Trump abruptly canceled his summit with Kim earlier this month, blaming “tremendous anger and open hostility” by Pyongyang — a decision North Korea called “regrettable” while still holding out hope for “peace and stability.”

In a letter to Kim announcing his decision to back away from the June 12 summit, Trump pointed to America’s vast military might and warned the rising nuclear power against any “foolish or reckless acts.”

North Korea issued a statement after saying it is still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks “at any time, at any format.”

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