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Donald Trump hails 'very productive talks with North Korea' amid signs Kim Jong-un summit could go ahead

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 26-05-2018 By Ben Riley-Smith, US Editor and Neil Connor

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 (Associated Press)

Donald Trump said the US was having "very productive talks with North Korea", suggesting the June 12 meeting with its leader Kim Jong-un which he cancelled could be back on. 

The US president had earlier on Friday praised the “warm and productive” statement issued by North Korea following his abrupt decision on Thursday to pull the plug on the Singapore summit. 

On Friday night, he seemed optimistic that the meeting could still take place on the original date.

"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," he said.

His change in tone came after a senior North Korean official expressed “great regret” at America’s withdrawal and insist the regime remained open to talks “at any time”. 

U.S. President Donald Trump grins at the commissioning and graduation ceremony for U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2018 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump grins at the commissioning and graduation ceremony for U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2018 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque James Mattis, the US defence secretary, also said the meeting could take place on June 12 as first planned, providing “our diplomats can pull it off”. 

Whether the logistics and policy planning could take place in the time remaining – a little over a fortnight – remains in much doubt. 

In this undated photo provided on Saturday, May 26, 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area in Gangwon-do, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP) © AP In this undated photo provided on Saturday, May 26, 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area in Gangwon-do, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP) A senior White House official cited North Korea’s failure to attend a planning meeting in Singapore and lack of communication when explaining Mr Trump’s initial decision to cancel the summit. 

But on Friday, North Korea appeared to have reopened diplomatic channels. It also issued an even-toned message that raised hopes the original meeting could take place. 

Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s vice foreign minister, said in a statement carried by state media: "We have inwardly highly appreciated President Trump for having made the bold decision, which any other US presidents dared not, and made efforts for such a crucial event as the summit."

He added: "We even inwardly hoped that what is called 'Trump formula' would help clear both sides of their worries and comply with the requirements of our side and would be a wise way of substantial effect for settling the issue. "

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera © Provided by The Telegraph

Mr Kim finished: "We would like to make known to the US side once again that we have the intent to sit with the US side to solve problem(s) regardless of ways at any time."

Mr Trump welcomed the comments, tweeting: 


Asked later about the summit by reporters, Mr Trump said: “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.” 

South Korea on Saturday welcomed the renewed prospect of the summit.

"We find it fortunate that the embers of the North Korea-US talks are reignited. We are watching developments carefully," Presidential Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-gyeom said.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at the commissioning and graduation ceremony for U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2018 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at the commissioning and graduation ceremony for U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2018 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque America and North Korea still appear far apart in what they hope to get out of the meeting.

The Trump administration has insisted on full denuclearisation before any economic sanctions are lifted. 

However North Korea has rejected calls for it to “unilaterally” denuclearise and appears to favour a tit-for-tat approach of sanctions being lifted alongside any curbing of its nuclear programme. 

U.S. President Donald Trump gesticulates as he returns from a trip to trip to Annapolis, Maryland, in Washington, U.S. May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump gesticulates as he returns from a trip to trip to Annapolis, Maryland, in Washington, U.S. May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria China, who Mr Trump has publicly blamed for Kim’s more critical tone on talks in recent weeks, urged both America and North Korea to “show goodwill”. 

Lu Kang, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said: "The recent easing situation on the peninsula is hard won, the political settlement process is faced with a rare historic opportunity.

"We believe as the parties directly engaged on the issue, the summit of North Korea and US can play a crucial role for promoting the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

"Under the current circumstances we hope both North Korea and the US can cherish the recent positive progress, stay patient, show goodwill, move in the same direction and continue to stay committed to promoting the denuclearisation of the peninsula."

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