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Trump Says Summit With Kim Jong Un Could Still Go Ahead June 12


A composite file photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and U.S. President Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump says the United States is "talking to" North Korea after he canceled a June 12 summit with leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump told reporters on May 25 that "everybody plays games."

Asked about the summit, Trump said: "We'll see what happens, it could even be the 12th.”

Trump, who spoke to reporters at the White House, stressed that both sides would like the summit to happen. He said: "They very much want to do it, we'd like to do it."

Trump had called off the summit in a letter to Kim Jong Un on May 24, citing North Korea's threat the day before to cancel the summit in a statement condemning Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy."

"Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," Trump wrote in his letter to Kim.

But he left the door open to a new meeting, saying in a letter to Kim Jong Un, "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."

Speaking also on May 25, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the scrapped summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea may still take place if diplomats can pull it off.

"We have got some possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on," Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Earlier on May 25, North Korea said it was still willing to talk to the U.S.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan early on May 25 responded to Trump's announcement by saying Pyongyang remains open to resolving issues with Washington "at any time, in any way."

Gwan said Trump's decision was "unexpected" and "very regrettable," and said the cancellation of the talks shows "how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-U.S. relations is and how urgently a summit should be realized to improve ties."

"Our commitment to doing our best for the sake of peace and stability for the world and the Korean Peninsula remains unchanged, and we are open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the U.S.," he said in a statement carried by North Korea's news agency.

White House officials said Trump viewed as "the last straw" a statement made by North Korean official Choe Son-hui early on May 24 that had dismissed Pence's remark that North Korea "may end like Libya" as "stupid."

Choe repeated North Korea's contention that it is already a "nuclear weapons state," whereas Libya gave up its nuclear program before it had actually developed or tested nuclear weapons.

Choe said her country would not "beg" for dialogue with the United States and warned of a "nuclear showdown" if diplomacy failed.

Trump's announcement came hours after North Korea made good on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site in a move witnessed by foreign journalists but not by nuclear experts, as the United States had requested.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on May 24 that North Korea did not respond to repeated requests from U.S. officials to discuss logistics for the now-canceled summit.

Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the lack of response was an additional reason for Trump's decision to cancel the meeting.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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