Netizen 24 SGP: A day after walking away from summit, Trump says June 12 date with Kim could still happen

By On May 25, 2018

A day after walking away from summit, Trump says June 12 date with Kim could still happen

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US President Donald Trump had on May 24, 2018, cancelled a planned summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
Published1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (REUTERS, AFP) - US President Donald Trump said on Friday (May 25) it was possible a summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un could still take place on June 12 as originally planned.

Mr Trump told reporters that US officials are in talks with North Korea after the country’s “very nice statement” on Friday, less than 24 hours after Mr Trump cancelled the highly anticipated meeting.

Mr Kim’s regime had said in a conciliatory statement it was still willing to talk “at any time”.

"We’ll see what happens. It could even be the 12th," Mr Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for Annapolis, Maryland, where he planned to address the commencement of the US Na val Academy.

"We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’re going to see what happens."

Asked if Mr Kim was playing games, Mr Trump said: "Everyone plays games."

Earlier Mr Trump had tweeted: “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea.

“We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”

Separately, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the June 12 summit may still take place if diplomats can pull it off. “We have got some possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on,” Mr Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon before a meeting with the Danish defence minister.

In a personal letter to Mr Kim, Mr Trump announced on Thursday he would not go ahead with the June 12 summit in Singapore , following what the White House called a “trail of broken promises” by the North.

Mr Trump blamed “open hostility” from the North Korean regime for his decision to call off the planned talks with Mr Kim, and warned Pyongyang against committing any “foolish or reckless acts”.

But Pyongyang’s reaction to the sudden U-turn has so far been conciliatory. First Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Mr Trump’s decision “unexpected” and “regrettable”. But he left the door open for talks, saying officials were willing “to sit face-to-face at any time”.

Just before Mr Trump announced the cancellation of the meeting, North Korea declared it had “completely” dismantled its nuclear test site in the country’s far north-east, in a carefully choreographed goodwill gesture ahead of the summit.

But the chances of success for the unprecedented face-to-face had recently been thrown into doubt as threats were traded by both sides. < /p>

Mr Trump’s announcement came a day after Pyongyang hardened its rhetoric, calling comments by Vice-President Mike Pence “ignorant and stupid”.

The decision blindsided treaty ally South Korea, which until now had brokered a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang. China, Pyongyang’s sole major ally, urged the two foes to “show goodwill", while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the parties to keep talking, as did host Singapore. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held out hope the talks would eventually take place.

Politically, Mr Trump had invested heavily in the success of the planned summit. But as the date drew nearer, the gulf in expectations between the two sides became apparent.

Washington has made it clear it wants to see the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation” of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed to never give up its nuclear deterrent until it is no longer threatened by what it calls US aggression.


Meanwhile in St Petersburg, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday North Korea should meet certain conditions before it can discuss long-term partnership with other countries, such as denuclearisation, the return of abducted people and fullfilling UN resolutions.

Mr Abe had said earlier that Japan "fully respect and support" Mr Trump's decision to cancel the Singapore summit.

Speaking at an economy forum in the Russian city, Mr Abe said that North Korea should make the right choice so that its people can live in prosperity and that it is very important that Pyongyang fulfills all United Nations resolutions on the full denuclearisation of the country.

Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan said at the same forum that a US-North Korea summit was necessary to ensure security on the Korean Peninsula. He added that security on the Korean peninsula touched on China’s core interests and that conf lict should be avoided at all costs.

In Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae In, who had urged Mr Trump at a White House meeting on Tuesday not to let a rare opportunity slip away, said on Thursday he was “perplexed” by the cancellation. South Korea also would continue efforts to improve ties with the North, the presidential office said after Moon’s top security advisers met for the second time on Friday.

Some analysts worried that cancelling the summit could prompt a resumption in hostilities, including renewed shorter-range missile tests or stepped-up cyber attacks by Pyongyang and increased sanctions or deployment of new military assets by Washington.

In his letter, Mr Trump warned Mr Kim of the United States’ greater nuclear might, reminiscent of the president’s tweet last year asserting that he had a “much bigger” nuclear button than Mr Kim.

While the Trump administration had insisted on North Korea’s complete, verifiable and ir reversible dismantling of its nuclear programme, Pyongyang had always couched its language in terms of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

It has said in previous, failed talks that it could consider giving up its arsenal if the United States provided security guarantees by removing its troops from South Korea and withdrawing its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.

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