North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has in recent days cooled on the idea of meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss denuclearization, in part because he’s concerned if he leaves his country for too long, he could lose power, the Washington Post reported.
According to people familiar with the discussions who spoke to the Post, Kim is purportedly concerned a trip so far from home could expose him to a military coup or other attempts to replace him. The North Korean regime leader is also worried about his personal safety and about having enough fuel to get to Singapore where he plans to meet Trump on June 12.
During a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that Kim would not only be “safe” during and after their meeting, but also “happy, his country will be rich, his country will be hard-working and prosperous,” he said.
It’s been widely reported that, at least in part, comments made by Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton — about the U.S. using the “Libya model” to promote denuclearization in North Korea — threw cold water on Kim’s interest in meeting with the U.S., likely because that deal ended with the country’s former leader being forced from power and killed.