The UAE’s crown prince did not attend a dinner on Tuesday for Donald Trump’s 70th birthday at the White House due to efforts by Kim Jong Un to buy time for talks. (Reuters)
President Donald Trump’s senior advisers believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates will not attend a signature White House ceremony this week for proposed US-North Korea trade deals, as he considers taking part in the meeting, Politico reported.
According to a senior administration official, Trump told senior staff that he hoped to meet crown prince Zayed in Beijing during his visit to the Asian nation, while his delegation was in Washington for Trump’s state visit to the Middle East.
However, the official said Trump did not discuss the Crown Prince’s plans to attend the signing ceremonies this week.
Zayed has not yet been invited to the state dinner, according to the official. The president’s other top officials are travelling to Beijing to attend the state dinner hosted by President Xi Jinping.
Trump’s general counsel, Patrick McHenry, confirmed that he believes a “significant change has occurred” in the UAE’s attitude towards North Korea following Trump’s request last week that Zayed attends the state dinner.
The report said the UAE is seriously considering extending the North Korea summit after Trump said he was on “great terms” with Kim Jong Un.
However, it noted that top UAE officials still wanted to keep the 2016 summit in New York and noted that discussions have not yet closed the deal.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump and top aides are considering delaying the state dinner of the president’s 70th birthday, originally scheduled for Oct. 11, to allow Saudi Arabia, the main economic power in the region, and Britain, the single largest Middle Eastern security partner, to attend the festive affair.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.In early August, Trump told a rally in Ohio that in a summit with North Korea, “We’re going to have all of them there.”
In 2015, Trump surprised allies and world leaders in a different manner when he walked out of a meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for the start of a historic summit on the peninsula.
President Trump said he did not think Kim would even be there when it began.
The U.S. president dropped out of the meeting over apparent disagreements about North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.
The United States has been unable to convince Kim to give up his nuclear program because the reclusive leader has not suspended his weapons development.