North Korea urges US to revive the summit

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump cancelling the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss the regime’s denuclearization, it appears a meeting could take place not too far in the future, as both sides seem willing to engage in dialogue.

North Korea, unlike its usual hard-line stance, expressed regret over the cancellation and said it is open to talks at anytime, so the ball is again in the U.S.’s court.

After Trump’s announcement late Thursday, North Korea stated that it had a “willingness to resolve issues through dialogue, whenever and through whatever means.” The statement was made by North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, reported by the Korean Central News Agency the following morning.

The vice minister said the cancellation of the summit shows “the deep-rooted hostile relationship between the states and the importance of talks between the top leaders to improve relations.”

“If things are taken step by step then relations (between North Korea and the U.S.) will improve,” he said.

Kim added that North Korea is “willing to give the U.S. time and the opportunity, with a broad and open heart.”

In a letter to Kim Jong-un, Trump stated the reason for cancelling the summit was due to “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed (by North Korea) in recent statements.”

A day earlier, another North Korean vice foreign minister, Choe Son-hui, referred to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant” for his remarks that North Korea could end up like Libya, which gave up its nuclear program only to see its leader killed by U.S.-backed rebels years later.

The White House stated North Korea’s statement about Pence was the “last straw” that led to it calling off the summit.

A While House official was also quoted as saying the summit fell through due to a “profound lack of good faith.”

He said North Korean officials did not show up for a working level meeting in Singapore last week and did not respond to calls.

The cancellation came only hours after Pyongyang dismantled its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in front of foreign journalists, carrying through a pledge Kim Jong-un made during his meeting with President Moon Jae-in in April.

“From the fact that Trump cancelled the summit after confirming that North Korea shut down its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, you can see that he engages in brinkmanship no less than North Korea,” former Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said in a radio interview.

Nonetheless, it appears both sides are willing to talk. Trump told Kim in the last part of his letter to “not hesitate to call or write” if he “changes his mind.”

In a phone call with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Friday, her U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was still willing to talk with North Korea.

Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said, “Kim Kye-gwan’s statements reflect the state’s willingness to resolve issues through dialogue.”

Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean studies held the same view.

“The U.S. did not take any preemptory measures while North Korea did, yet the latter has reached out,” Yang said. The measures were Pyongyang’s release of three American prisoners earlier this month and the shutdown of the Punggye-ri site. “We can see North Korea’s willingness for dialogue.

Source – The Korea Tomes

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