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(3rd LD) N. Korea says open to talks with U.S. despite Trump's cancellation of summit

2018/05/25 10:45

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(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with English-version statement)

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- A senior North Korean official said Friday his country is still willing to talk with the U.S., in response to President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull out of his planned summit with the North's leader.

"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," Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said in a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

It came hours after Trump announced the surprise decision to withdraw from his summit with Kim Jong-un set for June 12.

Kim said the U.S.' decision to cancel the talks demonstrates the extent of the animosity between the North and the U.S. He said a summit between the leaders of the two countries is desperately needed to resolve the hostile relations.

He added that the North Korean leader has made all-out efforts to prepare for the summit with the U.S., saying his meeting with Trump will serve as a good start.

"The U.S. side's unilateral announcement of the cancellation of the summit makes us think over if we were truly right to have made efforts for it and to have opted for the new path," he said.

Kim emphasized that the North remains open to talks with the U.S.

"We remain unchanged in our goal and will to do everything we could for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and humankind, and we, broad-minded and open all the time, have the willingness to offer the U.S. side time and opportunity," he said.

In a publicly disclosed letter to the North Korean leader, Trump said Thursday night (Seoul time) that the cancellation was due to the "tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement."

   Trump apparently pointed to the remarks by Choe Son-hui earlier Thursday in which the North's vice foreign minister lambasted U.S. Vice President Mike Pence for bringing up a Libya-style approach in ridding the North of its nuclear program and threatened to walk away from the summit with the U.S.

"I would like to take this expression of his stand on the DPRK-U.S. summit as a decision not consistent with the desire of humankind for peace and stability in the world, to say nothing of those in the Korean peninsula," Kim said.

"As for the tremendous anger and open hostility referred to by President Trump, it is just a reaction to the unbridled remarks made by the U.S. side which has long pressed the DPRK unilaterally to scrap nuclear program ahead of the DPRK-U.S. summit," he added.

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