Sen. Marco Rubio believes Thursday's big announcement of an agreed-uponby May between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will have preconditions despite the claims of South Korean officials that there are none.
"I think there are preconditions," the Florida Republican said on "CBS This Morning." "We are not going to get rid of sanctions, and we are going to continue to move forward on the military exercises with North Korea. And if you're still willing to meet despite that, then there's going to be a meeting."
Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, posited that one of two things could be responsible for the North's. He said either the regime is confident in developments in its nuclear and missile programs -- allowing it to negotiate from a newfound position of strength -- or the country is feeling pressured by rounds of hard-hitting international sanctions, compounded by calls from internal elitist factions looking for small, temporary concessions in exchange for the promise of possible future gains.
The senator said that indications that North Korea is taking deescalation will be evident in how it complies with already-established conditions set by the U.S. and other allies, and how it follows through on promises the North made in discussions with South Korean diplomats. In those talks, North Korea agreed to halt all missile and nuclear testing, with a goal of denuclearization. But the North, Rubio suggested, could be secretly misleading the U.S. in an attempt to pit the U.S. against the rest of the international community.
Rubio told "CBS This Morning, "If he's not willing to give up nuclear weapons and the ability to strike the United States, then my sense is that this is basically an effort to undermine international sanctions by saying, 'Look, I'm willing to meet.' But in those meetings, he makes requests we know you can never accept.
"Like, for example, the U.S. leaving South Korea and all of troops leaving our alliance there. He knows those conditions will never be met. And then he can turn to the international community and say, 'Look, I tried. I'm a reasonable person, but Donald Trump and the Americans are unreasonable,' in order to undermine international sanctions."
Still, Rubio said he has no real disagreement with the current strategic approach of the Trump administration in regard to North Korea.
"I don't think we would be at this point today if it would have not been for sticking with sanctions. And I think they are right to argue that nothing is going to change just because there is going to be a meeting," Rubio said. "I think pressure has certainly brought us to this point."
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