Vietnam Time

5/25/2018 8:36:00 AM

North Korea says still open to talks with US

North Korea on Friday (May 25th) said it was still willing to talk to the United States after President Donald Trump cancelled a summit between the two countries, a decision Pyongyang described as "extremely regrettable".

North Korean soldiers stand guard before the military demarcation line on the north side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on April 26th, 2018. (Photo: Korea Summit Press Pool/AFP)

"The abrupt announcement of the cancellation of the meeting is unexpected for us and we cannot but find it extremely regrettable," Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister, said in a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency.

"We had set in high regards President Trump's efforts, unprecedented by any other president, to create a historic North Korea-U.S. summit," said the vice foreign minister.

"We again state to the U.S. our willingness to sit face-to-face at any time in any form to resolve the problem," Kim added.

Kim also said that Trump's decision to scrap the summit that was planned to take place in Singapore on June 12 was not in line with the world's wishes and that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had made utmost efforts to hold the summit.

The summit is urgent in order to resolve "grave hostile relations", he said.

“TREMENDOUS ANGER AND OPEN HOSTILITY"

Earlier on May 24th, Trump sent a letter to Kim, saying that his planned meeting in Singapore on June 12 will not happen.

In the letter sent by the White House, Trump said that although he was very much looking forward to being in Singapore with Kim, it was "inappropriate" at this time to have this meeting "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility" displayed in North Korea's most recent statements.

"Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place," Trump said.

However, Trump added that he still looks very much forward to meeting Kim "some day."

"Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you," he wrote. "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history."

Trump still thanked Kim for releasing three American prisoners earlier this month, calling it a "beautiful gesture" that was very much appreciated.

DEEP DISAPPOINTMENT

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced deep disappointment on May 24th at the cancellation of the planned meeting next month between U.S. President and North Korean leader, announced earlier by the White House.

Guterres, in remarks delivered at the University of Geneva, said: "I am deeply concerned by the cancellation of the planned meeting in Singapore between the President of the United States and the leader of North Korea."

He urged the parties to continue their dialogue so as to "find a path to the peaceful and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

The Republic of Korea (RoK)'s presidential office said May 24th it is seeking to figure out the background of U.S. President’s abrupt cancellation of his agreed-upon summit with North Korean leader.

RoK President Moon Jae-in called in security and diplomatic officials Thursday night after Trump's cancellation of the planned summit with Kim.

On the same day, North Korea has confirmed the demolition of its nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, saying that all the tunnels have been collapsed by explosions and their entrances completely closed, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The statement also said that it has been confirmed that there was neither leakage of radio-active materials nor any adverse impact on the surrounding ecological environment.

Complete closure of the area surrounding the nuclear test ground will come after a successive removal of all ground observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units, and withdrawal of staff concerned, it said./.

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