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UPDATE: Putin Says North Korean Sovereignty Should Be Ensured

The president spoke briefly to reporters before he took a helicopter to Annapolis, Md., where he touted the U.S. military buildup in a commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy.

President Trump congratulates a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Friday in Annapolis, Md.

 

Vladimir Putin says finding a solution to the North Korea nuclear tensions is of great importance to Russia and says North Korea’s sovereignty should be guaranteed.

The Russian president said Friday that “a full denuclearization of North Korea” should involve giving “North Korea a guarantee of their sovereignty and inviolability.”

Putin said that “if you don’t behave aggressively and if you don’t corner North Korea, the result that we need will be achieved faster than many would think, and at less cost.”

Nothing that North Korea borders Russia, Putin said resolution “is of critical importance, especially when the situation is on the brink of war.”

His comments came as President Donald Trump said the U.S. was talking with North Korea about putting the summit back on track. On Thursday, Trump had canceled the summit, citing the North’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.”

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there is “possibly some good news” about a U.S.-North Korea summit.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Friday, Mattis said diplomats are working to get the summit back on track.

Mattis called the recent back-and-forth between President Donald Trump and North Korea, which seemed to indicate the summit would not happen as planned on June 12, the “usual give and take.”

 

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Less than 24 hours after President Trump sent notice to North Korea that he was canceling next month’s summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump told reporters Friday that the meeting could still happen as planned.

Using one of his favorite phrases, Trump told reporters, “We’ll see what happens,” adding, “it could even be the 12th.” The original summit date was June 12.

Trump said, “We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.”

Asked by a reporter whether North Korea was playing games with him, Trump responded that “everybody plays games, you know that better than anybody.”

Trump seemed pleased by the conciliatory tone of a North Korean statement issued after the summit was canceled Thursday, saying Pyongyang was “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks “at any time at any format,” according to The Associated Press.

Trump tweeted that it was “very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”

Defense Secretary James Mattis also sounded an optimistic note, telling reporters at the Pentagon there is “possibly some good news” about the summit, saying that “if our diplomats can pull it off,” the meeting may be back on. Mattis called the maneuvering “the usual give-and-take” of trying to put together big summits.

Trump made his remarks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One for the flight to Annapolis, Md., where he delivered the commencement address to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Trump didn’t mention North Korea during what, at times, sounded like a campaign speech. He took credit for increasing defense spending, saying, “We have begun the great rebuilding of the U.S. military.” He also said, “Our country has regained the respect that we used to have long ago,” declaring, “America is back.”

Trump said he was going to remain after his speech to shake the hand of each of the 1,042 members of the graduating class.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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