Washington: One day after abruptly pulling the plug on a high-stakes summit with North Korea, US President Donald Trump said Friday the meeting with Kim Jong-un could go ahead after all — possibly even on the originally scheduled date of June 12.
The summit would be an unprecedented meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader, which Washington hopes will result in full denuclearisation of the reclusive state.
“We’re going to see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House, after welcoming Pyongyang’s latest statement on the talks as “very good news.” “It could even be the 12th,” he added.
On Thursday, Trump cancelled the summit that was due to take place in Singapore, blaming “tremendous anger and open hostility” from Pyongyang in recent days.
But North Korea responded Friday by saying it was willing to talk to the United States “at any time” — a reaction Trump welcomed as “warm and productive.”
“We’re talking to them now,” Trump said of the North Koreans. “They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it.”
US defence secretary Jim Mattis said there was “possibly some good news” on the summit, while White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters: “If the meeting takes place on June 12, we will be ready.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert cast the fast-moving developments as simply “twists and turns” in the process. “We never expected it to be easy,” Nauert told reporters. But the whiplash from the White House was unusual even for the chaos-loving president. In March, apparently acting on impulse, Trump agreed to the talks with Kim after only limited input from aides.