North Korea DESPERATE to save Trump summit - pledges 'WILLING to resolve issues'

Brenda Watkins
May 25, 2018

This included the fact that North Korea recently objected to a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea despite pledging to tolerate such drills back in March.

His office said that it was trying to work out Mr Trump's intentions in cancelling the summit.

But the Republican president also held out hope that a meeting with Kim could still take place, saying: "It's possible that the existing summit could take place, or a summit at some later date".

Just before Trump announced the cancellation of the talks, North Korea declared it had "completely" dismantled its nuclear test site, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit.

Pyongyang's rapid ICBM advance was what originally put Trump and Kim on a collision course and, according to USA officials, led him at one point to ask the Pentagon to draw up options for a preventive strike on a North Korean nuclear or missile site.

But with Trump saying he is keeping the door open to diplomacy and North Korea apparently still looking to benefit from a thaw with South Korea, such steps could be constrained - or at least tempered - by a mutual desire to keep things from spiralling out of control.

A White House official said North Korean condemnation of Mr Pence was the "last straw" that led to the United States cancelling the meeting, but said there was still hope for peace with North Korea.

In the North Korean statement that Mr Trump citied, Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui had called US Vice-President Mike Pence a "political dummy" for comparing North Korea - a "nuclear weapons state" - to Libya. "We have to get it right", he said. The White House wants to see how the North responds to today's letter.

A White House official said it was incorrect to focus exclusively on the "dummy" comment, saying that the nuclear threats meant that no summit could be successful under such circumstances.

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Meanwhile United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced deep disappointment at the cancellation of the meeting. That included the North Koreans not showing up to a planned meeting in Singapore last week.

North Korea also broke a promise to allow global experts to witness the destruction of its nuclear test site, the White House official said, and only allowed journalists to observe the process. The US officials reportedly "waited and waited and the North Koreans never showed up".

While a small group of journalists invited to the site described a series of explosions throughout the day, the official stressed that "we will not have forensic evidence that much was accomplished".

"It's only recently that this has been taking place and I think I understand why it's been taking place", he said.

"South Korea is also likely to be angered, and the Alliance will take a hit".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on May 10. "Expect Seoul to try to continue engagements with Pyongyang, even if it widens a rift with Washington", Denmark wrote on Twitter.

President Xi Jinping of China has also appeared nervous about the pace of the talks and the prospect of Kim's getting too close to the Americans, particularly given his independent streak and past willingness to buck China.

Mr Pompeo said the North's attitude had changed markedly since he returned from a trip to Pyongyang earlier this month during which he met with Mr Kim and oversaw the release of three Americans being held there. "Never. So much for the experts", she said. "And now he's walking away from it in this very chummy, palsy-walsy letter to Kim Jong Un".

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