[Breaking] Trump says Kim summit could still go ahead June 12

Darnell Taylor
May 26, 2018

"We have inwardly highly appreciated President Trump for having made the bold decision, which any other USA presidents dared not, and made efforts for such a crucial event as the summit", Kim Kye Gwan's statement said.

In a letter to North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, Mr Trump had blamed "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang, but held out hope that the meeting could happen. "We'll see what happens - it [the summit] could even be the 12th [of June]".

"I think maybe we've been too excited about the good results happening", said Hwang Jung-hee as she squinted across the river north. "They very much want to do it, we'd like to do it", he told reporters.

Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Mr Trump's decision "unexpected" and "very regrettable", and said the cancellation of the talks showed "how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-US relations is and how urgently a summit should be realized to improve ties".

But North Korea responded Friday by saying it was willing to talk to the United States "at any time" - a reaction Trump welcomed as "warm and productive".

North Korea had sharply criticized suggestions by Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence that it could share the fate of Libya if it did not swiftly surrender its nuclear arsenal. His decision on Thursday to call off the summit appears to not have stuck.

On Twitter Friday morning Trump said the statement was "very good news".

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday, that "we are working on plans going forward".

Even with the summit seemingly back on the rails for June 12, it's far from clear that the administration has absorbed that message.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said however he respected and supported the United States president's move. "There had to be something to come out of it".

In their first summit in April, Kim and Moon announced vague aspirations for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace, which Seoul has tried to sell as a meaningful breakthrough to set up the summit with Trump.

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Kick-starting talks, however, will face a number of obstacles, including a possible credibility gap created by the dramatic about-face.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in meet again.

Republicans, however, hailed the President's action as a tough negotiating move.

A recent survey commissioned by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, however, found that South Koreans were more concerned about air pollution than Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. But it did play the major role in organising Mr Pompeo's two trips to Pyongyang, once as Central Intelligence Agency director and once as secretary of state.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that North Korean officials had stopped communicating with US officials in recent days.

He has since said he is open to reinstating the talks.

The latest talks were held on the northern side of the Panmunjom truce village, between 15:00 and 17:00 local time (06:00 and 08:00 GMT), Mr Moon's office said.

It was unclear who proposed the second meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon. The presidential Blue House did not immediately provide more details.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, said he regretted the cancellation and said the world should keep doing its bit to make the summit happen.

The group did not supplant the State Department's traditional mode of communication with the North, which is known as the "New York Channel" and involves USA diplomats and their North Korean counterparts posted to the United Nations.

"If there is a summit ..." Unless one or both sides align their expectations and rhetoric with this reality, it is unlikely that the summit can be rescheduled. Sovereign nations and allies have the right to train their forces, just as North Korea did all winter long. "Tune in at the end...or next season", he wrote.

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