Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer urged President Trump Wednesday not to “show weakness” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after the dictator threatened to cancel a planned summit on denuclearization.
“I strongly urge President Trump — Mr. President — don’t give Kim Jong-un anything for free,” Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor. “If we show weakness, if the minute Kim Jong-un threatens we go along, he will continue to take advantage of us.”
A North Korean official said earlier Wednesday that Pyongyang won’t agree to U.S. demands to give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally. Unless the U.S. backs down on that issue, he said, North Korea likely won’t attend the summit scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
The White House said Wednesday that the U.S. will keep up its “maximum pressure” campaign on North Korea if Mr. Kim refuses to meet.
Although the White House hasn’t indicated any consideration of canceling ongoing military exercises with South Korea, Mr. Schumer said “it would be a mistake for the president to cancel this exercise, to begin making further concessions before Kim has dismantled a single nuclear weapon, or agreed to a single inspector.”
“We must show strength and fortitude by continuing these military exercises — we will do just that,” he said.
The New York Democrat said Mr. Kim is “clearly testing the United States and President Trump, trying to see if there’s any weakness or desperation or division on our side.”
“We are rooting for the president’s gamble with this mischievous and dangerous regime to work,” Mr. Schumer said. “The best way to head into these negotiations with the North is to make clear that we will not be bullied and to show strength.”
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