Trump welcomes NK 'warm' response to canceled summit

Grant Boone
May 25, 2018

The abrupt cancellation by President Trump of a planned bilateral summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un yesterday evidenced a realization that Kim will not agree to the quick and complete denuclearization that US officials are seeking.

After decades of tension on the Korean Peninsula and antagonism with the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, Kim and Trump agreed to what would be the first meeting between a serving US president and a North Korean leader.

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 US 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.

"We're going to see what happens".

Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea's recent criticisms of certain USA officials had been a reaction to unbridled American rhetoric, and that the current antagonism showed "the urgent necessity" for the summit. "They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it".

The last straw, according to the White House, was an insult of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence earlier Thursday in a statement by North Korea's vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui.

References to Libya have angered North Korea.

Kim Kye Gwan's statement is the latest whiplash development in efforts to diplomatically address what might be the world's most unsafe standoff.

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy was the only USA broadcast network correspondent to witness the explosions at the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site in North Korea.

Trump's letter caught allies by surprise.

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YouTuber Steven Jay Williams, who is known as "Boogie2988 " online, published several tweets directly referencing Bain on Friday. In the clip, Bain said: "There's a couple of small tumors in my liver, and there's one very, very small nodule in my lung.

As the two Koreas march together for the opening ceremony, the South's President Moon Jae-in shares historic handshakes with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, and Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka attends events with top officials from both sides.

The U.S. may also have damaged relations with South Korea.

In response, Kim brands Mr Trump "mentally deranged" and a "dotard", warning he will pay dearly for his threats. The statement was issued in response to Trump's abrupt cancellation of the June summit between the two countries in the US bid to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapon.

Trump emphasized in his on-camera remarks that sanctions and "the maximum pressure campaign will continue" to be applied on North Korea, while expressing hope Pyongyang's leadership would decide to join the community of nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch ally of Kim Jong Un, said the North Korean leader had in fact done "everything that he had promised in advance, even blowing up the tunnels and shafts" of the site.

A survey of 106 university students at Kookmin University in Seoul showed 57.3 percent had a positive image of Kim Jong Un after the summit, compared to 19.8 percent beforehand. "It could be that he lacked the will for the summit or he might not have felt confident", Kim Kye Gwam suggested, poking at president's ego.

As Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, put it: "This is a bad day for the U.S".

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Friday, Mattis said diplomats are working to get the summit back on track.

"Trump cancelled the June summit hours after North Korea had demolished its Punggye-ri nuclear test site".

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