While the world looks forward to the much-discussed meet between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a few doubts have now emerged on the talks with Pyongyang warning of a "nuclear showdown."
Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said that the US must change its ways or Pyongyang will be forced to rethink the June 12 Singapore summit. She also said that the US can either choose to discuss the matter at the negotiating table or get ready for a nuclear showdown.
"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," state-run KCNA news agency quoted Hui as saying, according to CNN.
"We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us."
Hui's comments come after US vice president Mike Pence, during an interview with Fox News, said that North Korea could end up in a Libya-like situation if talks with Washington fail. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and 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," Pence had said.
The comparison alarmed Pyongyang as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had negotiated with Washington and agreed to abandon its nuclear programme in early 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief. However, he was overthrown and killed by US-backed rebels a few years later.
Similar claims were also made by Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, but realizing the seriousness of the issue, the White House had tried to downplay the matter saying nothing was set in stone and things would be planned as and when they take place.
"This is the President Trump model. He's going to run this the way he sees fit. We're 100% confident, as we've said many times before, as I'm sure you're all aware, he's the best negotiator and we're very confident on that front," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
For a long time, North Korea has been explaining that the Libya situation is one of the reasons it requires an efficient nuclear programme and the fact that the US time and again brings up the Libya reference doesn't help the cause.
"They (the North Koreans) are very proud, they don't like being bullied and they certainly don't like the repeated references to Libya and the repeated reference to its poverty," CNN quoted Jean Lee, the director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at the Wilson Center, as saying.
Now, one will have to wait and watch if the US-North Korea summit does take place June 12, or will it be postponed to a later date. The two leaders had chosen Singapore as the preferred venue due to its neutral stance and world-class security.
The US is also favourable towards a location with prestige and glamour," the Straits Times had quoted Dr Lim Tai Wei, adjunct research fellow at East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, as saying.