N.Korea still open to talks with US: Minister

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Pyongyang, May 25 (IANS) A North Korean minister said on Friday that Pyongyang was still willing to talk with Washington, in response to US President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull out of his planned summit with Kim Jong-un.

“We would like to make known to the US side once again that we have the intent to sit (and) solve problem regardless of ways at any time,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan as saying.

North Korea’s response came hours after Trump announced his surprise decision to withdraw from his summit with Kim Jong-un set for June 12, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The Vice Foreign Minister said the US’ decision to cancel the talks demonstrates the extent of the animosity between Pyongyang and Washington.

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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 US, saying his meeting with Trump will serve as a good start.

“The US 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.

The minister emphasized that the North remains open to talks with the US.

“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.

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In a publicly disclosed letter to the North Korean leader, Trump said on Thursday night 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 on Thursday in which the North’s vice foreign minister lambasted US Vice President Mike Pence for bringing up a Libya-style approach in ridding the North of its nuclear programme and threatened to walk away from the summit.

Choe also said the summit’s future was “entirely dependent” upon Washington.

Last week, Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit due to the White House’s pressure to impose a “unilateral” denuclearisation model, while Trump had spoken on Tuesday of a possible postponement.

The Singapore summit would have been the first meeting between a US president and a North Korean leader in the almost seven decades since the 1950-1953 Korean War.

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