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N Korea willing ‘to sit face-to-face’ with US after Trump calls off summit

Friday 25/May/2018 - 12:09 PM
Sada El Balad
Pyongyang says it is still open to talks with Washington after US President Donald Trump called off a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for next month، according to "Press TV".

"The abrupt announcement of the cancellation of the meeting is unexpected for us and we cannot but find it extremely regrettable،" Kim Kye-gwan، North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister، said in a Friday statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"We again state to the US our willingness to sit face-to-face at any time in any form to resolve the problem،" the North Korean official said.

"We had set in high regards President Trump's efforts، unprecedented by any other president، to create a historic North Korea-US summit،" the statement added.

The unprecedented summit was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore، for what would have been the first meeting between an American and North Korean leader.

Trump made the announcement in a letter released by the White House on Thursday، saying his decision was due to "tremendous anger and open hostility" in a recent North Korean statement.

On Tuesday، Trump expressed doubts about the meeting taking place as planned when he hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House.Moon’s visit to the US was originally arranged as a meeting to fine-tune a joint strategy for dealing with North Korea but instead became more of a crisis session after Pyongyang last week threatened to scrap plans for the summit.

The summit announcement came after several months of unprecedented cordial diplomacy between South and North Koreas، which had been adversaries for decades. Moon has been acting as a go-between in diplomatic efforts for the potential holding of the summit between the US and North Korea — also long-time foes.

The summit’s cancellation is a major blow to what Trump supporters hoped would have been the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.

The White House was caught off-guard when North Korea condemned the latest US-South Korean military drills، suspended North-South talks، and threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim summit.
The KCNA had on Tuesday warned Washington about “the fate” of the summit in the wake of what it described as “provocative” military exercises.

The United States، which has substantial presence in South Korea، was on a war footing with the North over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. But relations have dramatically improved in the past four-and-a-half months.

North Korea dismantled its sole known nuclear test site on Thursday in an array of explosions. The Punggye-ri test facility has been the staging ground for all six of the North’s nuclear tests، including its latest and by far most powerful one in September last year، which Pyongyang claimed was an H-bomb.

Edited by Rasha Mohamed

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