JUNE 7, 2018
Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
With the summit plans back in place, the U.S. has the upper hand, President Trump’s lawyer said
TEL AVIV — President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got “on his hands and knees and begged” for their summit to be held after Mr. Trump canceled it in May.
Mr. Giuliani counseled a similar approach to Trump administration negotiations with Palestinian officials in a future Middle East peace process.
Speaking at an investment conference in Israel hosted by the Globes newspaper, Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Trump canceled the summit because senior North Korean officials insulted top Trump administration officials.
“They also said they were going to go to nuclear war with us, they were going to defeat us in a nuclear war,” Mr. Giuliani said. “We said we’re not going to have a summit under those circumstances.”
After Mr. Trump canceled the meeting, Mr. Giuliani said: “Well, Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
A man who answered the phone at North Korea’s United Nations office on Wednesday said no one was available to comment.
With the summit plans back in place, the U.S. has the upper hand, Mr. Giuliani said.
It wasn’t clear whether Mr. Giuliani was referring to a May 25 statement by a North Korean Foreign Ministry official or to other contacts between the U.S. and North Korea. In the May 25 statement, Kim Kye Gwan responded to the cancellation by saying: “We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format.”
Mr. Giuliani also said North Korea does want to denuclearize, “but they do want probably much too long a timetable for that.”
Mr. Giuliani told the Israeli audience that a similar approach should be taken with the Palestinians in the decades-old conflict with Israel.
“That’s what needs to happen with the Palestinian Authority. They have to be seeking peace. You’ve got to change the dynamic and put the pressure on them,” he said.
Palestinian officials have refused to meet with the Trump administration since December, when Mr. Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
The presidential lawyer told Israeli reporters earlier this week he had seen the undisclosed Trump plan for Middle East, and said it makes “all the sense in the world,” but declined to provide any details.
Mr. Giuliani called The Wall Street Journal on Thursday to clarify that he meant in those remarks that he had seen publicly available information about the Mideast plan, which Trump administration officials have kept closely held.
“I have not seen any secret plan or been told about one. I based my comments on the publicly available discussion of the plan,” he said.