US President Donald Trump says his administration was having “productive talks” with Pyongyang about reinstating a planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, just a day after canceling the meeting.
“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,” Trump tweeted late on Friday.
“It was a very nice statement they put out,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’ll see what happens – it could even be the 12th.”
The US president also accused congressional Democrats of “rooting” against his administration in its negotiations with North Korea.
On Thursday, Trump announced he was calling off the summit, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. The meeting would have been the first meeting between a sitting American president and North Korean leader.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized Trump’s cancellation of the summit, calling the move “shocking and very regrettable.” Moon has been acting as a go-between in diplomatic efforts for the potential summit.
The United States, which has substantial presence in South Korea, was on a war footing with the North over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
The development resurrected hopes that Trump and Kim could soon meet to try to find a solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula that has escalated over the past year.
Many experts had questioned whether the Trump administration had properly paved the path for a successful summit, and raised concerns that Trump was rushing to make a deal.
“I’m quite sure our president had not done a minute of preparation. Kim was clearly ready from A to Z,” said Richard Armitage, a former US deputy secretary of state.
North Korea dismantled its sole known nuclear test site on Thursday in an array of explosions. The Punggye-ri test facility has been the staging ground for all six of the North’s nuclear tests, including its latest and by far most powerful one in September last year, which Pyongyang claimed was an H-bomb.