Asia Surprised Trump Canceled North Korea Nuclear Summit

ANALYSISMay 25 2018 12:00pm The Times Why China is wary of a close relationship between US and North Korea Richard Spencer

Kim Kye-gwan said North Korea appreciated Mr Trump for having made the bold decision to work towards a summit.

In Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said North Korea's recent criticisms of certain USA officials had been a reaction to unbridled American rhetoric and that the current antagonism showed "the urgent necessity" for the summit.

It instead insisted "we have the intent to sit with the USA side to solve problem regardless of ways at any time".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill, said North Korea had not responded to repeated requests from USA officials to discuss logistics for the summit.

Trump, in his letter to Kim, objected specifically to a statement from a top North Korean Foreign Ministry official. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and murdered by NATO-backed militants after halting his nascent nuclear program.

President Donald Trump took a page out of North Korea's book Thursday by canceling his planned summit with Kim Jong Un, and now Pyongyang appears to be scrambling to save the summit.

Pyongyang has called for a more incremental process that links concessions to partial nuclear reductions and postpones complete denuclearization until its undefined security demands are met.

But North Korea's measured reaction to Trump's rejection letter also offered the opportunity for the summit to be held in the future, raising hope that diplomatic progress is still possible.

Meanwhile, commenting on what lies ahead, Dr Sojin Lim, a senior lecturer in Korean studies told The Independent that "It will now be up to South Korea to try to bring the two countries back into some sort of dialogue - however, North Korea's burgeoning relationship with China means that it is now far less dependent on the U.S., so it will be even more hard to re-establish negotiations between the two countries".

President Donald Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-In in the Oval Office of the White House, May 22, 2018, in Washington.

Trump, in scrapping the June 12 summit in Singapore, sounded a bellicose note, warning Kim of the United States' greater nuclear might, reminiscent of the president's tweet a year ago asserting that he had a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim.

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At an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said such a summit was necessary to ensure security on the Korean peninsula, which touched on China's core interests.

Trump suggested this week that China was to blame for "a little change" in Kim's attitude. Trump cited North Korean hostility in canceling the summit.

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

By contrast, many Republicans praised Mr. Trump for making the "right decision" by pulling out from the summit.

For decades, North Korea has been pushing a concept of "denuclearization" that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops from South Korea and the American "nuclear umbrella" defending South Korea and Japan.

Christopher Hill, former USA ambassador to South Korea told CNBC, "Such a gap in expectations on both sides could have been avoided if the U.S. had gotten a better reading of North Korea's intentions, especially since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un twice in the past few months".

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Friday that his agency would "continue monitoring and surveillance activities against North Korea", according to the Asahi newspaper.

President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this month.

"I think President Trump did exactly the right thing in canceling the meeting", Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said in a Thursday interview on Fox News. "I don't really know that I want to speculate as to why it is they (North Koreans) took the actions, because I don't think we know".

He said that he was still optimistic that the USA will reach the point.



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