North Korea still open to speaking with US after Donald Trump cancels summit | News | DW | 25.05.2018
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North Korea still open to speaking with US after Donald Trump cancels summit

North Korea says President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "extremely regrettable." China has also called for continued dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

North Korea said on Friday that it regretted US President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but that it was still open to talks with the United States.

"The abrupt announcement of the cancellation of the meeting is unexpected for us and we cannot but find it extremely regrettable," North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said.

"We again state to the US our willingness to sit face-to-face at any time in any form to resolve the problem," Kim added.

Read more: Donald Trump's steep learning curve on North Korea has a price

Dear Mr. Chairman

In a letter released on Thursday, Trump announced he would not attend the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on June 12 due to Pyongyang's "tremendous anger and open hostility" in a recent statement.

North Korea's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, criticized US Vice President Mike Pence for making "ignorant and stupid remarks" earlier that day. Pence had warned North Korea it could end up like Libya if it refused to make a deal on giving up its nuclear program.

The summit had been billed as a historic opportunity for the US to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal. On Thursday, foreign journalists witnessed North Korea shutting down its main nuclear test site.

Read more: Donald Trump's North Korea gamble has backfired

South Korea 'perplexed'

Some foreign leaders responded with shock and regret to Trump's announcement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he was "very perplexed" that the summit would not take place and urged both countries to seek direct talks.

His unification minister, Cho Myoung Gyon, said Trump's decision would not impede South Korea's efforts to implement an agreement on denuclearization it reached with North Korea in April. "It appears that the North remains sincere in implementing the agreement and making efforts on denuclearization and peace building," he said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply concerned" by Trump's decision, while the United Kingdom said it was "disappointed."

Japan's support

The German government said it regretted the summit's collapse.

"From the German government's point of view, dialogue at the highest level is an important step towards de-escalation on the Korean peninsula," the spokeswoman said.

But Japan's foreign minister, Taro Kono, voiced support for Trump, saying it was "meaningless" to go forward with the summit without any prior progress.

China, a key North Korean ally, called for continued dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

"We hope that North Korea and the United States cherish the positive progress achieved during this period of time, maintain patience, express kindnesses to each other, and move toward each other, continue to work to resolve mutual concerns through dialogue and consultation, and promote the denuclearization of the peninsula," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

The "political settlement process" on the Korean Peninsula is "facing a rare historical opportunity," Lu said Friday.

Trump did not rule out future talks with the North when he announced the cancellation of the summit. In his letter, he urged Kim not to "hesitate to call [him] or write" to schedule a meeting.

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