President Donald Trump on Friday welcomed North Korea’s statement that it was still willing to meet despite his cancellation of the summit. He called the North’s reaction “warm and productive” and expressed hope for “long and enduring prosperity and peace.”
Trump tweeted Friday morning, a day after he withdrew from the June 12 summit. In a letter to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, Trump had blamed “tremendous anger and open hostility” by Pyongyang, but held out hope that the meeting could happen.
North Korea issued a statement Friday saying it is still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks “at any time, at any format.”
Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Trump’s decision “unexpected” and “very regrettable,” and said the cancellation of the talks shows “how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-U.S. relations is and how urgently a summit should be realized to improve ties.”
On Friday, Trump called the statement “very good news,” adding, “We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”
The president’s surprise exit capped weeks of high-stakes brinkmanship between the two unpredictable leaders over nuclear negotiating terms for their unprecedented sit-down. The U.S. announcement came not long after Kim appeared to make good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site. But it also followed escalating frustration — and newly antagonistic rhetoric — from North Korea over comments from Trump aides about U.S. expectations for the North’s “denuclearization.”
Trump repeatedly offered mixed messages about the exit. Hours after releasing the letter, he declared hours later, “I really believe Kim Jong Un wants to do what’s right.”
After that, a senior White House official said the North had reneged on its promises ahead of the summit. Trump said from the White House that a “maximum pressure campaign” of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation would continue against North Korea — with which the U.S. is technically still at war — but he added that it was possible the summit could still take place at some point.