North Korea released fresh images of what it says was the demolition of a nuclear test site on the same day it expressed regret over President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel a June 12 summit with ruler Kim Jong-un.
North Korea on Friday said it was still willing to talk to the United States ‘any time in any form’ after Trump’s announcement, a decision Pyongyang described as ‘extremely regrettable’.
North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister said Kim had been preparing for the talks and expressed surprise at the cancellation.
President Donald Trump on Thursday called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming ‘open hostility’ from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any ‘foolish or reckless acts’.
In a letter to Kim, Trump announced he would not go ahead with the high-stakes meeting set for June 12 in Singapore, following what the White House called a ‘trail of broken promises’ by the North.
In his Friday statement, First Vice Foreign Minister Kim said the North Korean leader had been preparing for the summit to go ahead.
‘Our Chairman (Kim Jong-un) had also said a meeting with President Trump would create a good beginning and had been putting effort into preparations for it,’ Kim said.
The chances of success for the unprecedented face-to-face between Trump and Kim had recently been thrown into doubt, with the U.S. President pointing a finger a China for the change in tone.
On Thursday, Pyongyang hardened its rhetoric by attacking US Vice President Mike Pence as ‘ignorant and stupid’.
That broadside appeared to hit a nerve with Trump, leading to him abruptly pulling out of the talks.
‘Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,’ read Trump’s letter to Kim, which was dictated word-for-word by the US leader, according to a senior White House official.
Earlier this week Trump appeared to blame Beijing for what he perceived as a ‘change in attitude’ from Kim, who visited China three weeks ago and met President Xi Jinping.
‘There was a difference when Kim Jong Un left China the second time,’ Trump said. ‘There was a different attitude after that meeting and I was a little surprised.
China has today urged the United States and North Korea to be patient and ‘show goodwill’.
‘The recent easing situation on the peninsula is hard won, the political settlement process is faced with a rare historic opportunity,’ foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press conference.
‘Under the current circumstances we hope both the DPRK and the U.S. can cherish the recent positive progress, stay patient, show goodwill, move in the same direction and continue to stay committed to promoting the denuclearisation of the peninsula,’ Lu said, using North Korea’s official initials.
Just before Trump announced the cancellation of the talks, North Korea declared it had ‘completely’ dismantled its nuclear test site, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit.