About the Author
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korea is willing to resolve pending issues through face to face dialogue “at any time and in any way,” DPRK’s first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan said on Friday.
In Pyongyang’s first response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation on Thursday of a planned summit with Kim Jong Un, Kim said the decision “doesn’t conform with the desire of humanity which wish the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the word.”
The statement, carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), came less than 12 hours after Trump called off his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore.
Citing Trump’s claim it was inappropriate to hold the long-planned summit at this point, Kim said the abrupt cancelation had made Pyongyang reconsider if its decision to pursue dialogue had been the correct one.
“But we are always willing to give time and opportunity with bold and open mind as there is no change in our goal and in will to do everything for peace and stability of the Koran peninsula and humanity,” Kim said.
“We, once again, expressed our willingness to the U.S. side of solving a problem sitting face to face at any time and in any way.”
The high-ranking North Korean diplomat also reiterated the necessity of dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.
Kim called on the U.S. to “deeply deliberate” the fact that bilateral ties would not have worsened if both sides had resolved their pending issues step by step, though said they should not have had too high expectations on their first meeting.
“The unfortunate situation depicts how severe the present reality of the DPRK-U.S. hostile relations….and how much the summit is acutely necessary for the improvement of the relation,” he said in a Korean-language statement.
Kim explained that the “tremendous anger and open hostility” cited by Trump “was nothing more than the opposition to the U.S. inordinate behaviors and statement which forces the unilateral discarding of nuclear arsenals ahead of the DPRK-U.S. summit.”
In the statement, Kim said Pyongyang “highly appreciated” Trump’s efforts to hold the summit with the North Korean leader.
“But his abrupt and unilateral cancellation of the summit is unexpected thing from our side, and we can’t help to consider it as very regretful,” he said.
The North Korean diplomat said it was difficult to make a judgment on the reason for the cancellation.
Pyongyang, he said, had strived to hold the summit “with expectations that it could be a meaningful starting point for improvement of the relations between the two countries and peace and security of the region and the world.”
Kim said the DPRK-U.S. summit would have served as the “first step for resolving an issue through dialogue.”
“We also have an… expectation that the Trump model will be the sagacious measure of relieving mutual concerns, corresponding to our requirements and make substantial progress in resolving the problem.”
“Our chairman of State Affairs Commission has made every endeavor to prepare for it saying a good start can be made if he can meet President Trump.”
President Trump on Thursday announced that he would withdraw from a planned June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un in a letter addressed to the DPRK leader.
“We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore,” a letter signed by the President read.
“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” it added.
“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.”
The comments appeared to be a response to a statement by DPRK vice-foreign minister Choe Son Hui issued on Thursday, in which the senior North Korean diplomat warned that she may ask Kim Jong Un to “reconsider” participation in the summit.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday urged Washington and Pyongyang to continue dialogue.
“Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace are historic tasks that can neither be abandoned nor delayed,” Moon said during an emergency meeting with security advisers in the early hours of Friday morning.
“I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the North Korea-U.S. summit will not be held on June 12 when it was scheduled to be held.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday said he was “seriously concerned” by the developments.
“What I ask of both parties is to have nerves of steel,” Guterres told press at a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland. “So that they can put in place a process of dialogue able to find ways to arrive at our common objective: verifiable denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCNA