International desk: Hillary Clinton has warned that the Trump administration “was not recognising the danger” in discussing nuclear disarmament with Pyongyang, and said Washington lacked experienced diplomats to handle the talks, reports AFP.
“If you want to talk to Kim Jong Un about his nuclear weapons you need experienced diplomats,” Clinton was quoted as telling Dutch tabloid Algemeen Dagblad in an interview published Saturday.
“These are people familiar with the dossiers and who know the North Koreans and their language,” Trump’s presidential rival said in an interview conducted in Amsterdam and published in Dutch.
The former secretary of state said however that the US State Department was “being eroded” and that experienced diplomats on the North Korean issue were in short supply, with many having left.
“You cannot have diplomacy without diplomats,” she said, adding “the danger is not being recognised by the Trump government.”
Clinton’s words echo those of veteran diplomat and former US ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, who warned that negotiating with North Korea was not “reality television.” “It’s a real opportunity… I worry about the president’s unpreparedness and lack of discipline. But I commend him for his very bold move in accepting the invitation,” Richardson told AFP on Friday.
“But this is not ‘The Apprentice’ or a reality TV event. It’s a negotiation with an unpredictable leader who has at least 20 nuclear weapons and who threatens the United States,” he said.
On the contrary, President Trump has tweeted that a deal with North Korea is “very much in the making”, a day after revealing he had agreed to meet its leader Kim Jong-un, reports BBC. The North has yet to make a statement on the meeting, announced by the South. Earlier, the White House said the meeting would not take place unless Pyongyang took “concrete actions”.
US media report that Mr Trump made the decision to meet without consulting key figures in his administration, who are now scrambling to catch up.
No sitting US president has ever met a North Korean leader.
Mr Trump stunned observers when he agreed to the summit following an invitation delivered by South Korean envoys.
Confusion mounted when Mr Trump’s own press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told reporters that North Korea has “promised to denuclearise”. She added: “We’re not going to have this meeting take place until we see concrete actions.”
The top US diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was on his first official trip to Africa when the announcement was made.
He told reporters on Friday the decision to meet Mr Kim was one “the president took himself”.