US President Donald Trump says “very productive talks” are underway with North Korea on holding the June 12 summit in Singapore. Talks on reinstating the meeting came within 24 hours of Trump’s previously abrupt cancellation.
In a tweet, Trump confirmed that if the elusive meetup with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un does happen, it will likely remain at the earlier scheduled date and place: on June 12 in Singapore.
We are having very productive talks with North Korea 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 potentially unprecedented meeting, a first-ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, has been in the making for months. Trump had been erratic in his statements about the summit during the period, taking his time in narrowing down the time and place, and threatening to cancel or walk out of the meeting if he does not get his way. In the end, he called it off on Thursday, after the North Korean vice-minister of foreign affairs took issue with US Vice President Pence’s threats of a “Libyan scenario” for Pyongyang: what started as a description of how the US helped Libya get rid of its nuke research in 2003, ultimately also came to include the 2011 overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi.
With that, Trump’s rhetoric was abruptly back to touting the US’ military readiness and comparing whose nukes are bigger, like he did back in January with his infamous “bigger nuclear button” tweet. All of that, hours after North Korea publicly destroyed its only nuclear test site in a gesture of goodwill.
Then, on Friday, Trump said the summit was on the cards again, summing it up with the phrase “everybody plays games.” If his tweets are to be believed, he was moved by the North’s statement in the wake of the cancellation. Pyongyang said it was willing to sit down”at any time, in any way” to resolve its differences with Washington for the sake of “peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and mankind.”
Earlier, the North itself had threatened to cancel the summit over joint US-South Korean military drills at its border. The exercises have been a part of Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang, which also included a slew of crippling economic sanctions and, until recently, regular barrages of belligerent rhetoric.