United States President Donald Trump on Friday said his summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un could still happen on June 12 after officials on both sides started talking, a day after he cancelled it, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility”.
Trump said the lines of communication had opened between the two countries after Trump administration officials on Thursday said that the North Koreans had become unresponsive, leading to the planned summit’s cancellation.
“We’ll see what happens. We are talking to them now,” Trump said at the White House before boarding Marine One for a commencement address in Annapolis.
“They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We will see what happens,” he said.
Trump appeared to be optimistic even about the cancelled June 12 summit in Singapore. “It could be even on 12th June, he said in response to a question. “We will see what happens,” said the US President.
The summit, the first time a sitting US president had met a North Korean leader, would have focused on ways of denuclearising the Korean peninsula and reducing tensions.
Asked whether the North Koreans were playing games, Trump acknowledged they were -- and suggested he was too.
“Everybody plays games. You know that,” he told reporters when asked about the ongoing talks. “You know that better than anybody.”
Washington has made it clear it wants to see the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation” of North Korea. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression.
On Thursday, in a letter to Kim, Trump announced that he was cancelling their June 12 summit meeting in Singapore. He blamed Pyongyang’s “tremendous anger” and “open hostility” for his decision.
Later the White House said a “trail of broken promises” by the North Koreans, including keeping a team of US officials waiting in Singapore for a preparatory meeting, left Trump with no choice but to cancel his proposed summit with Kim.
In a statement, North Korea regretted the cancellation of the summit and said that it was willing to meet anytime in any way. Trump described it as very good news.
North Korea’s Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said Trump’s cancellation decision was “extremely regrettable”.
“It was a very nice statement they put out. We will see what happens,” Trump told reporters in response to another question.