North Korea appeared to want to come back to the negotiating table after President Trump called off the planned summit between himself and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Here’s what happened
President Trump announced that he was cancelling the summit Thursday after several warnings from the North Korean regime that they might do the same.
“We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant,” said Trump in a letter Thursday. “I was very much looking forward to being there with you.”
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement,” the president explained, “I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”
“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit,” he concluded, “for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world will not take place.”
The president also tweeted about it later Thursday. “While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially,” he said, “I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world.”
I have decided to terminate the planned Summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world… pic.twitter.com/jT0GfxT0Lc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
Willing to talk “anytime”
After Trump cancelled the meeting, a senior North Korean diplomat released a statement saying that they were willing to meet with the United States “anytime” according to South Korean news media.
“We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format,” said Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan in the statement.
The concession has come after North Korea invited some members of the media to document their dismantling of a nuclear test site, and the release of three U.S. hostages the country had taken.
However, the White House said that the dismantling didn’t meet their requirements. “That promise was broken,” said a senior White House official to reporters. “We will not have forensic evidence that much was accomplished.”
“It’s possible that the tunnels are designed in a way that would still allow them to be used in the future,” he added.
The White House official also said that the North Koreans didn’t show up to planned negotiations about the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un. “The North Koreans didn’t tell us anything,” the official said. “They simply stood us up.”
South Korea perplexed
The South Korean president admitted Thursday that he was “perplexed” by Trump’s announcement.
“I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the North Korea-U.S. summit will not be held on June 12 when it was scheduled to be held,” Moon Jae-in said.
“Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace are historic tasks that can neither be abandoned nor delayed,”
Here’s the Fox News report on North Korea’s response: