Trump says North Korea 'very much' wants summit

Doris Richards
May 25, 2018

Trump blamed the "tremendous anger and open hostility" from Pyongyang for forcing the cancelation of the summit, but many analysts say the issue was more about substance over tone and the unbridgeable gap between the two denuclearization positions.

Trump's approach might have caught Kim off guard, Bechtol believes.

"Is it your opinion that this decision by Kim Jong-un is a result of a weak leader who lacks the internal support to go forward with a meeting on denuclearisation?"

The statement by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, a longtime nuclear negotiator and senior diplomat, which said the North is "willing to give the USA time and opportunities" to reconsider talks that had been set for June 12 in Singapore, could be driven by a need to use the summit to ease crushing global sanctions, or by a determination that a summit with the mercurial Trump is the best opportunity the North will ever have to elevate itself, and its nuclear program, to equality with its archrival.

"I don't think Trump is doing the right thing if he wants to win the Nobel Peace Prize". "It's what caused me to recommend to the president that I thought the time would, in fact, permit us to have a real opportunity to do something historic", Pompeo said.

Women attend a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump near U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, May 25, 2018.

South Korea was clearly blindsided by Trump's decision to back away from the summit, which was announced in a letter to Kim.

However it would not be surprising for Beijing to allow increased informal trade with Pyongyang, given Kim's improved relationship with Xi, and the unilateral good faith measures taken by the North that include the destruction of it nuclear test site on Thursday, the release of USA prisoners, and the continued suspension of further nuclear and missile tests.

Trump didn't entirely kill the summit, writing to Kim "please do not hesitate to call me or write".

But Trump also threw Moon under the metaphorical bus.


But North Korea on Friday seemed to sweep that under the rug, saying the hostility was "just a reaction to the unbridled remarks made by the US side which has long pressed the DPRK unilaterally to scrap nuclear program ahead of the DPRK-US summit". 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.

But clearly Moon faces the greatest test of his diplomatic skills since he used his hosting role for the Winter Olympics in February to renew the push to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.

North Korea sent hundreds of athletes, performers and dignitaries to the Pyeongchang Games, including Kim's sister, who conveyed her brother's desire for a summit with Moon.

North Korea had also threatened to cancel over joint U.S.

Pyongyang had released three American prisoners, agreed to a moratorium on missile tests, quietly accepted a US-South Korean military exercise on its doorstep and even blown up its only atomic weapons testing site.

North Korea has sharply criticized suggestions by Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence that it could share the fate of Libya if it did not swiftly surrender its nuclear arsenal.

China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has publicly urged the United States and North Korea to keep up the dialogue and work to reduce tensions.

Trump, who considers himself a master dealmaker, has confounded aides and allies at every turn of the fateful flirtation with the North. The US reportedly favors a front-loaded agreement that would see North Korea abandon its weapons up-front.

"It's an awkward and tough situation but the talks haven't been broken yet", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and an policy adviser to Moon.

The tone from both sides was warmer on Friday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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