Did the West and its allies start celebrating 'victory' over North Korea far too soon to push the latter to take a hardened stand before the historic summit?
Moods looked to be heating up ahead of the widely awaited meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as Pyongyang said America's sanctions weren't the reason behind its decision to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, a pledge it took on two occasions in late April, including the summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border truce village of Punmunjeom on April 27.
North Korea's state-run media KCNA said on Sunday, May 6, that the US was misleading people by saying its sanctions made Pyongyang bend on the question of nuclear weapons. KCNA said Washington wasn't helping things by characterising Pyongyang's steps as something that bore weakness in the face of pressure and military threats.
The North Korean media's viewpoints became public a day after Trump announced that the date and venue of the summit had been decided upon.
According to experts, North Korea took a strong stand ahead of the talks to convey to the world the message that it was taking part in the meeting as an equally strong party and not as one which is doing so under pressure.
Though the official details about the meeting weren't revealed, South Korean media said it was likely to be held in Singapore in the third week of June.
The KCNA also said in another report that Pyongyang credited its leader Kim for the diplomatic opening the country has made of late, saying it was his "boldness, patriotism and leadership" that played an important role in building the pro-peace initiative.
It also warned that Washington's claims that North Korea was forced to make the changes were done deliberately to provoke and that would ruin the atmosphere of dialogue and take the situation back to "square one".
Suggestions to grant the Nobel Peace Prize to Trump started surfacing soon after the historic Korean Summit took place with even the president of South Korea supporting the idea of giving the US president the prestigious award.
More diplomatic rounds are scheduled to take place ahead of the Trump-Kim meeting as Moon is set to meet Trump at the White House on May 22 while leaders of China, South Korea and Japan will meet in a trilateral summit on May 9. North Korea will be discussed on a priority on both the occasions.