Washington: President Donald Trump pivoted from his abrupt cancellation of a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it may still happen on the originally scheduled 12 June date.
Trump told reporters on his way to board the presidential helicopter that US officials are in talks with North Korea after the country’s “very nice statement" on Friday.
“We are talking to them now," Trump said on Friday, adding that the summit with Kim may proceed and “it could even be the 12th."
“We would like to do it," Trump said of the summit, and “they very much would like to do it."
North Korea’s first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said on Friday that his country still wanted to pursue peace and said it would give Washington more time to reconsider talks. He added that North Korea “inwardly highly appreciated" Trump for agreeing to the summit, and hoped the “Trump formula" would help lead to a deal between the adversaries.
“The first meeting would not solve all, but solving even one at a time in a phased way would make the relations get better rather than making them get worse," Kim said in a statement carried on Friday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “We would like to make known to the US side once again that we have the intent to sit with the US side to solve problem regardless of ways at any time."
The statement from Pyongyang appeared designed to get the summit back on track after Trump cancelled their planned Singapore meeting, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility" in recent statements from North Korea.
Asked Friday if North Korea was playing games ahead of the summit, Trump responded, “Everyone plays games."
North Korea hardened its rhetoric toward the US on Thursday, lashing out after remarks by Vice President Mike Pence and the White House national security adviser, John Bolton, that had linked the country with Libya. Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of foreign affairs, called Pence “stupid" and a “political dummy," according to an English-language statement from KCNA.
Trump then issued his own threat in a letter to Kim. “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.