Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Anger and red faces in South Korea over axed Trump-Kim summit

Anger and red faces in South Korea over axed Trump-Kim summit

"I'll let them talk all they want and then I'll hope and pray the diplomats pull it off", he said. "We'd like to do it", he added.

North Korea had sharply criticised suggestions by Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence that it could share the fate of Libya if it did not swiftly surrender its nuclear arsenal.

Trump took action after North Korea's vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui called US Vice President Mike Pence "stupid and ignorant" for warning the dictatorship could end-up like war-torn Libya. Focus will now swing back to how Trump will respond to the North's seemingly conciliatory gesture.

USA defence and intelligence officials have repeatedly assessed the North to be on the threshold of having the capability to strike anywhere in the continental United States with a nuclear-tipped missile - a capacity that Mr Trump and other U.S. officials have said they would not tolerate.

On Twitter Friday morning Trump said the statement was "very good news". "We're going to see what happens", he was quoted as saying by the U.S. media. "Only time (and talent) will tell!" the USA president said in a tweet.

"It's a fortunate thing that the possibility of the North Korea-U.S. dialogue is still alive without being terminated", the South's Yonhap news agency quoted spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom as saying. It has consistently worked to portray itself as the driver of progress in a relationship that has remained hostile for over six decades. Kim Jong-un has been crafting an image of a responsible statesman against an erratic Trump.

Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea's first vice-minister of foreign affairs, accused the United States of "trying to drive us into a corner" and declared that North Korea was not interested in "unilateral nuclear abandonment". In a letter to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, Trump had blamed "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang, but held out hope that the meeting could happen. After all, what Pyongyang prefers is a step-by-step approach, whereby both sides de-escalate their confrontation on a gradual and reciprocal basis over time.

United States officials also complained North Koreans did not show up to preparatory meetings and would not answer calls.

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"We're talking to them now", Trump told reporters a day after the summit was canceled, in part because North Korea had stopped direct communication with the U.S. A photo of the meeting released by the presidential office showed Moon with a deep frown.

The statement brought a reprieve to the escalating public rhetoric from the two countries, which over the past few days took on a more aggressive tone as North Korean officials floated withdrawing from the historic summit and backed off assurances to discuss denuclearization with the U.S. It never actually said it would give up its nuclear weapons, just that it would no longer need them if a peace mechanism could be implemented.

For weeks now - ever since TV pictures of a charming-looking Kim Jong-un captivated South Koreans - people have flocked to observation posts like the one at Odusan to peer, curiously, into North Korea.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Trump did not want a meeting that was "just a political stunt".

Michael Stone offered his services as an editor to the White House until they hired a permanent one, encouraging Mr Trump to "try a thesaurus".

"June 12th", the official said, "is in 10 minutes".

In a statement, North Korea regretted the cancellation of the summit and said that it was willing to meet anytime in any way.

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