North Korea regrets Trump’s decision but will be relieved the moral responsibility will be on US
North Korea said US President Donald Trump's decision of pulling out of the June 12 summit scheduled in Singapore was "extremely regrettable" and was assured that it was still willing to sit with the US "at any time in any form". The North Korean response came in a statement from its first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan which was carried by the state-run KCNA news agency.
Trump personally wrote to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday, May 24, informing him Washington's decision and blamed Pyongyang's "tremendous anger and open hostility" shown recently. He also posed a veiled threat saying he prayed to God that the US would not have to use its massive nuclear power against North Korea.
The summit date and venue were set up after a series of diplomatic parleys involving North Korea, the US and South Korea with China too chipping in to play a considerable role. US sent Mike Pompeo, its current secretary of state twice to hold talks with Kim while Kim himself went to China to meet President Xi Jinping in April and May with the historic Inter-Korean Summit taking place between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in between.
Although the details of the June 12 talks were unclear, it was expected to focus on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and reducing the escalating tension between Pyongyang and the international community.
North Korea even dismantled tunnels at its only nuclear test side in the presence of foreign journalists (including those from South Korea) just hours before Trump made his decision abruptly.
The US administration held North Korea responsible for the negative outcome saying the latter profoundly lacked good faith.
The US also alleged that North Korea did not show much interest over the summit when it sent its deputy chief of staff to Singapore to meet Pyongyang's diplomats ahead of the June 12 summit. According to one White House official, the North Koreans didn't even show up.
There were a series of "broken promises" from Pyongyang, the official told reporters, including when the White House sent the deputy chief of staff to Singapore to meet North Korean diplomats ahead of the summit.
North Korea was particularly upset with remarks flying out from the US administration comparing its denuclearisation process with that of Libya whose nuclear programme documents and materials had been shipped out to the US in the early 2000s. North Korea found it nationally humiliating saying it was a full-fledged nuclear state.
The latest occurrence of Pyongyang reacting sharply against the comparison with Libya was on May 23 when US Vice President Mike Pence spoke of the analogy in an interview. North Korea called Pence's remarks "ignorant" and "stupid" and that perhaps pushed Trump to eventually quit the talks.
But North Korea certainly saved its back by not taking the first step of pulling out of the summit. The moral responsibility now falls on the US, just as it did when Trump scuttled the Iran deal on May 8.