Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday he is deeply skeptical North Korea would actually give up its nuclear weapons, adding Pyongyang is going to try to leverage talks with the U.S. to try to receive as much sanctions relief as possible without endangering its arsenal.
“My suspicion remains that he is going to try to get as much sanctions relief as possible without having to give up his weapons," the Florida Republican said on CBS's "Face The Nation." "And I think it's going to be a lot of twists and turns along the way to try to get there if it's even possible. But I hope I'm wrong.”
While the senator did not say so directly, there has long been talk on whether the United States would act militarily if there was a fear that North Korea could strike the U.S., particularly if no deal can be reached.
"I’m not in favor of that, it’s not something that I relish or take lightly,” Rubio said. “I’m just telling you that could very well be the option we wind up with at the end."
President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday night that the planning continues for a meeting between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. But the president himself canceled the summit earlier this week after North Korea released a statement blasting Vice President Mike Pence and warning the U.S. of a "nuclear showdown."
Before the recent push for a possible deal to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, Trump and Kim exchanged increasingly heated rhetoric as the two nations jostled each other.
Rubio called Kim's decision to release three Americans held in the country and Pyongyang's claim that it dismantled its nuclear weapons testing site a "show."
"I think the first thing we all have to do is stop pretending that we’re dealing with the Soviet Union, the old Soviet Union or that we’re negotiating with Italy or France," Rubio said. "This is a very erratic regime that’s very ... paranoid about the rest of the world, distrustful of the rest of the world."