North Korea pledges to 'sit down at any time' after Trump cancels Kim Jong-un meeting

Jeremy B White
The Independent
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a meeting in Pyongyang: CNA/via REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a meeting in Pyongyang: CNA/via REUTERS

North Korea has said it "will sit down at any time, in any way" after Donald Trump cancelled a planned summit with its leader Kim Jong-un.

The secretive communist state's vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement released by state media that his country “appreciated” Mr Trump’s willingness to pursue talks.

He added: “We reiterate to the US that there is a willingness to sit down at any time, in any way, to solve the problem”.

Mr Trump's decision was “not in line with the ideals of making demanding the peace and stability of the world”, the statement said and it rued a “disgraceful situation” exacerbated by “hostility with deep historical roots”.

However, the language marked the latest shift in tone for Pyongyang, which released a series of defiant and aggressive statements as the hotly anticipated summit drew closer.

An official statement deriding vice president Mike Pence’s “ignorant and stupid remarks” on North Korea, compelled Mr Trump to abruptly pull out of the meeting, the US president said in a letter.

“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”, he added.

Prior to that, Pyongyang had cast doubt on the meeting’s viability by saying it would not be coerced into unilaterally renouncing its nuclear weapons programme and assailing Mr Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton.

The isolated North Korean regime’s tactics have fluctuated dramatically over the year-and-half Mr Trump has been in office.

It first flexed its military muscle, testing a powerful hydrogen bomb and firing off a series of intercontinental ballistic missiles. As the regime displayed its martial capabilities, it released a stream of statements threatening to annihilate its foes.

But Pyongyang then veered towards diplomacy, establishing contact with South Korean officials amid the backdrop of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and then conveying to Mr Trump, via South Korean intermediaries, the invitation to what would have been an unprecedented meeting with Mr Kim.

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