North Korea says it is still open to talks after Trump cancels summit
North Korea signaled Thursday that it is still open to talks with the United States after President Trump canceled a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement that Pyongyang is willing to talk with the U.S. at any point, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
“We reiterate to the US that there is a willingness to sit down at any time, in any way, to solve the problem,” the diplomat said, according to North Korea‘s state-run Korean Central News Agency.
The North Korean official said Trump’s decision to cancel the June 12 meeting in Singapore was unexpected, arguing the move was not in the world’s interest.
Trump canceled the meeting in a letter released by the White House earlier Thursday, which cited Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” toward the U.S.
“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote.
Parts of Trump’s letter took a mournful tone, saying that “this missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.” But at one point, the letter sought to remind Kim of the nuclear arsenal Washington commands.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump wrote.
Trump’s withdrawal from the meeting also seemed to take South Korean officials by surprise. President Moon Jae-in said he was “very perplexed” by the decision and urged Trump and Kim to engage in talks.
The summit already appeared to be on shaky ground days before Trump called it off. Last week, Pyongyang abruptly canceled a planned meeting with South Korea, citing Seoul’s joint military drills with the U.S.
The North also threatened to back out of the talks with Trump if he insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”
But despite the threats, the Trump administration continued to appear optimistic that a meeting would take place.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that U.S. officials were continuing their preparations for the summit. And in a Fox News interview aired hours before the letter to Kim was released, Trump said there was a “good chance” that the summit materialized.
In the lead-up to Trump’s decision to back out of the summit, U.S. officials had become concerned about how serious the North was about the talks.
A senior White House official said on Thursday that North Korean officials failed to show up to a recent meeting with U.S. officials.