A day after President Trump declared that the historic summit planned between the US and North Korea had been cancelled, Trump appeared to pull off another pivot on Friday when he kept hopes of a meeting alive, saying that the Singapore meeting may still happen as scheduled on June 12, just hours after North Korea said they are very eager to get back to the negotiating table, and that the only reason for Pyongyang's harsh language was because it was responding to similar language by the US.
"We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters at the White House on his way to Annapolis adding that "it could even be the 12th. We're talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We'll see what happens" and then explained his negotiating strategy: "everybody plays games."
"We're going to see what happens, we're talking to them now."— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 25, 2018
President Trump says North Korea summit with Kim Jong-un could still be possible on 12 June https://t.co/eMeK1Oyldi pic.twitter.com/BRjgtAnmeT
Trump credited the North's "very nice statement" for prompting the US to reconsider its cancellation.
Shortly after, Reuters reported that Mattis echoed Trump's optimismsaying that he had received "possibly good news" on the June 12 summit which "may be on if diplomats can pull it off."
- MATTIS SAYS RECEIVED POSSIBLY GOOD NEWS ON N.KOREA SUMMIT: RTRS
- MATTIS SAYS SUMMIT MAY BE ON IF DIPLOMATS CAN PULL IT OFF: RTRS
Earlier in the day, Trump welcomed the conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks. Trump 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!"
In Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea’s recent criticisms of certain U.S. officials had been a reaction to unbridled American rhetoric and that the current antagonism showed “the urgent necessity” for the summit. Gwan said Friday that his country still wanted to pursue peace and said it would give Washington more time to reconsider talks. He added that North Korea “inwardly highly appreciated” Trump for agreeing to the summit, and hoped the “Trump formula” would help lead to a deal between the adversaries.
“The first meeting would not solve all, but solving even one at a time in a phased way would make the relations get better rather than making them get worse,” Kim said in a statement carried Friday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “We would like to make known to the U.S. side once again that we have the intent to sit with the U.S. side to solve problem regardless of ways at any time."