Donald Trump says he’s open to ‘phase-in’ by North Korea to dismantle nukes

May 24, 2018 GMT

President Trump said Thursday that he would accept a gradual dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program instead of immediate denuclearization.

“Physically, a phase-in may be a little bit necessary,” the president said on Fox News’ “Fox Friends.” “It would have to be a rapid phase-in. We are going to see. I would like to have it done immediately.”

Mr. Trump is still hoping to proceed with a planned summit June 12 in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, although a top North Korean diplomat again threatened Wednesday night to cancel the meeting.

During a meeting Tuesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Mr. Trump also suggested he’d consider something less than an immediate dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.


“All in one would be nice,” Mr. Trump said. “You do have some physical reasons that [North Korea] may not be able to do exactly that.”

North Korea on Thursday carried out what it said was the demolition of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, setting off explosions that were witnessed by foreign journalists. The planned closing was previously announced by Mr. Kim.