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Putin defends North Korea over canceled summit

The Hill logo The Hill 5/25/2018 Brett Samuels
Vladimir Putin: Russian President Vladimir Putin give an interview focused on Russia's action in Syria.  © Provided by Associated Press Russian President Vladimir Putin give an interview focused on Russia's action in Syria. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he was disappointed the planned summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un was cancelled and said North Korea was not to blame.

"In Russia, we took this news with regret," Putin said at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, The Associated Press reported.

"We had very much counted on it being a significant step in sorting out the situation on the Korean Peninsula and that it would be the beginning of the process of denuclearizing the whole Korean Peninsula," Putin continued.

Putin said Kim "did everything he promised in advance," citing North Korea's claim that it had destroyed its nuclear testing site.

Trump announced Thursday morning that he was scrapping the summit with Kim in light of the North Korean leader's "tremendous anger and open hostility" toward the United States.

A man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, in Seoul, South Korea, May 24, 2018.   REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji © Thomson Reuters A man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, in Seoul, South Korea, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

"I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," Trump wrote in the letter released by the White House.

In public remarks later, Trump opened the door to a future meeting if Kim took "constructive" steps.

U.S. officials indicated on Thursday that they had been preparing in recent days for the June 12 meeting in Singapore, but that the North Koreans stopped responding.


A senior White House official said the U.S. sent personnel to Singapore last week to set the meeting up, but North Korea "stood us up."

The official also accused North Korea of breaking its promises when it did not invite international inspectors to witness the destruction of its nuclear testing site. The official speculated that North Korea may not have completely destroyed the site beyond repair.

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