search

Israel refused South Korea’s request to publicly back Trump-Kim summit — report

Army Radio says government fears nuclear talks with North Korea could set precedent for attempts to denuclearize Iran

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

This June 6, 2018, photo shows the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore (seen in the center of the picture) where US  President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to meet on June 12, 2018, for nuclear talks. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
This June 6, 2018, photo shows the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore (seen in the center of the picture) where US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to meet on June 12, 2018, for nuclear talks. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Israel refused a request from South Korea to publicly back the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week, apparently out of fears the negotiations could set a precedent for future denuclearization efforts against Iran.

South Korea, which has been pushing for and coordinating the summit, set to take place in Singapore on Tuesday, has been canvassing the international community for support, Army Radio reported Thursday.

But Israel “politely” turned down the request, the radio report said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also skirted the issue when asked about his views on the upcoming summit during a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, speaks as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens during a joint press conference after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on June 5, 2018.
(PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP)

“I think that denuclearizing one state is enough for me,” the prime minister replied, apparently referring to his staunch opposition to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Israel wished Trump success, he said, adding: “I’m not going to say [anything] beyond it.”

The Foreign Ministry refused a radio request to comment.

The White House announced Monday that Trump and Kim will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in Singapore.

Trump says the goal for the summit is denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The parley is back on after the US president canceled it in late May citing the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a statement from North Korea. Hours earlier a senior North Korean official had questioned the value of the talks and said her country was just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table.

Her comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence suggested the North may end up like Libya if it did not move forward with denuclearization.

Rudy Giuliani speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv on June 6, 2018. (Courtesy: Globes)

On Wednesday, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told a business conference in Tel Aviv that “Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it [the summit], which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”

In an interview later with The Associated Press, Giuliani rejected suggestions that such comments might sour the atmosphere ahead of next week’s summit, saying that the North Korean leader must understand that the United States is in a position of strength.

“It is pointing out that the president is the stronger figure,” Giuliani told the Associated Press. “And you’re not going to have useful negotiations unless he accepts that.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu met with British Prime Minister Theresa May after meetings earlier this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

His meetings were aimed at rallying support from key allies for amending the international nuclear deal with Iran and for pushing Iranian forces out of neighboring Syria.

AP contributed to this report.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed