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Trump says "there's a good chance" for N. Korea summit on June 12, open to "phase-in" approach to denuclearization

President Trump says that "there's a good chance" his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Singapore on June 12, as planned, although he has also sounded less certain about the timing earlier this week.

"We'll see what happens. Right now we're looking at it, we're talking about it," he told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" in an interview airing Thursday. "And they're talking to us. We have certain conditions.  We'll see what happens.  But there's a good chance."

"Most importantly it would be a great thing for the world so we'll see what happens," he added.

When asked if a "phase-in" approach would be considered with regards to North Korea's steps toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Mr. Trump replied: "We're going to see, I'd like to have it done immediately but physically, a phase-in may be a little bit necessary." He added that it would have to be a "rapid phase-in" but that he'd like to see it done at one time. 

Mr. Trump's renewed approach toward "complete and verifiable" denuclearization that the administration has been pushing for in the lead-up to the summit comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that the U.S. posture towards North Korea "will not change until we see credible steps taken toward the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula." 

Mr. Trump's guarded optimism of the summit was contradicted by insults from the North Koreans directed at Vice President Pence. North Korean Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui, quoted by the state-run news agency, said of Pence Thursday, "I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president." 

Pence, in his own interview on Fox News on Wednesday, had seemed to threaten the North. "You know, as the president made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal." Under the Libyan model, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi dismantled his nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The agreement was initially seen as a success for denuclearization, with Libya welcoming international inspectors to verify the dismantlement. But eight years later,  Gaddafi was overthrown in a gruesome killing by Western-backed rebels.

This interview with the president is Fox News' 23rd since he took office, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller, who has been tracking presidential data for decades.  In comparison, NBC News has had the next most interviews -- four. ABC News and CBS News have each had one, and CNN has been granted no interviews since the beginning of Mr. Trump's presidency.

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