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Trump: North Korea statement on summit ‘good news’

Pyongyang said it is ‘willing to give the US time and opportunities’ to reconsider talks ‘at any time’.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has welcomed North Korea’s latest statement on nuclear talks as “good news” and said: “We will soon see where it will lead.”

The North Korean government said it was still “willing to give the US time and opportunities” to reconsider talks “at any time, at any format”.

The statement was issued in response to Mr 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.

The US president tweeted: “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”

On Thursday he had withdrawn from the June 12 summit, writing to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to blame “tremendous anger and open hostility” from Pyongyang, but holding out hope that the meeting could happen.

North Korea’s vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan called Mr Trump’s decision “unexpected” and “very regrettable”, and said the cancellation of the talks shows “how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-US relations is and how urgently a summit should be realised to improve ties”.

The president’s surprise exit capped weeks of high-stakes brinkmanship between the two unpredictable leaders over nuclear negotiating terms for their unprecedented sit-down.

The US announcement came not long after Mr Kim appeared to make good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, but it also followed escalating frustration — and newly antagonistic rhetoric — from North Korea over comments from Trump aides about Us expectations for the North’s “denuclearisation”.

Mr Trump repeatedly offered mixed messages about the exit. Hours after releasing the letter, he declared: “I really believe Kim Jong Un wants to do what’s right.”

After that, a senior White House official said the North had reneged on its promises ahead of the summit.

Mr Trump said from the White House that a “maximum pressure campaign” of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation would continue against North Korea — with which the US is technically still at war — but added that it was possible the summit could still take place at some point.