WASHINGTON — A day after President Trump wrote a letter to North Korea calling off the planned June 12 summit while lamenting a lost possible friendship and peace deal, he lauded Pyongyang’s reply as “very nice” and said “we’ll see” about the possibility of the summit being back on.
“I felt like a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you,” Trump wrote in the Thursday letter, which a White House official said was dictated in full by the president.
The president added that if Kim Jong-un changes his mind, “please do not hesitate to call me or write.”
The response, issued through the official Korean Central News Agency, came from 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye-kwan, who said Trump’s letter was “a decision not consistent with the desire of humankind for peace and stability in the world, to say nothing of those in the Korean peninsula.”
“As for the ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ referred to by President Trump, it is just a reaction to the unbridled remarks made by the U.S. side which has long pressed the DPRK unilaterally to scrap nuclear program ahead of the DPRK-US summit,” Kim continued. “…As far as the historic DPRK-US summit is concerned, we have inwardly highly appreciated President Trump for having made the bold decision, which any other US presidents dared not, and made efforts for such a crucial event as the summit.”
Kim added that Trump’s “sudden and unilateral announcement to cancel the summit is something unexpected to us and we can not but feel great regret for it.”
“It is hard to guess the reasons. It could be that he lacked the will for the summit or he might not have felt confident. But for our part, we have exerted sincere efforts,” he said. “…The US side’s unilateral announcement of the cancellation of the summit makes us think over if we were truly right to have made efforts for it and to have opted for the new path.”
The North Korean dictatorship, the vice foreign minister said, remains “unchanged in our goal and will to do everything we could for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and humankind, and we, broad-minded and open all the time, have the willingness to offer the US side time and opportunity.”
“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. The US should ponder over it,” Kim said. “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.”
Asked by reporters on the White House lawn today whether the summit is still off, Trump replied, “We’ll see what happens. We’re talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out. We’ll see what happens.”
Trump then mused that the summit “could even be the 12th,” still.
“We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it,” he added. “We’re going to see what happens.”
Asked if North Korea is playing games, Trump responded, “Everybody plays games. You know that better than anybody.”