The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Washington
Donald Trump has said a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was “likely” to go ahead, a day after he announced the summit was cancelled.
The president said in a tweet that Washington was having “productive talks” with Pyongyang about reinstating the meeting on 12 June in Singapore.
Mr Trump’s back-and-forth over the plan has given ammunition to critics who argue the administration is in chaos and caused anxiety to South Korea, which brokered the talks between Washington and North Korea.
A report by Politico claimed an advance team of 30 White House and State Department officials was preparing to leave for Singapore later this weekend.
Mr Trump said in a Twitter post late on Friday: “We are having very productive talks about reinstating the summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.”
The leader had earlier indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to discussions.
“It was a very nice statement they put out,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’ll see what happens – 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.”
Friday’s tweet, which further brightened prospects of the US-North Korean meeting, came just a day after Mr Trump cancelled it, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility”.
Seoul was apparently caught off-guard by Mr Trump’s decision to cancel the Singapore meeting, with President Moon Jae-in saying the decision was “very regrettable”. He urged the two nations to resolve their differences through “more direct and closer dialogue between their leaders”.
The nation expressed cautious relief about indications the meeting could go ahead. “We see it as fortunate that the embers of dialogue between North Korea and the United States weren’t fully extinguished and are coming alive again,” Seoul’s presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a statement. “We are carefully watching the developments.”