SEOUL, South Korea — Hours after President Trump canceled a summit with its leader, Kim Jong-un, North Korea said on Friday that it was still willing to give Mr. Trump “time and opportunity” to reconsider his decision, saying that Mr. Kim had held great expectations for the meeting.
“The unilateral cancellation of the summit was unexpected and very regrettable,” said Kim Kye-gwan, a vice foreign minister of North Korea, in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. “But we remain unchanged in our willingness to do everything we can for the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and of the humanity, so with a broad and open mind, we are willing to give the United States time and opportunity.”
With its carefully worded statement, North Korea appeared to shift the blame to the United States while trying to create an impression that it was the North Korean leader, and not Mr. Trump, who was the mature statesman trying to salvage the diplomatic process.
Mr. Trump, in a surprise announcement, said Thursday that he was pulling out of the June 12 summit meeting with Mr. Kim in Singapore. The American president cited North Korea’s recent expressions of hostility in making his decision, which was delivered to the North’s leader in a letter.
Mr. Kim, the vice foreign minister, said North Korea remained “willing to sit down with the United States any time, in any format, to resolve the problems.”
“We have been internally giving President Trump a high score for making a decision any other American president couldn’t and for exerting efforts to make a historic summit event happen,” he said. “Our chairman too has been making preparations, saying that if he meets with President Trump, it will be a good beginning.”
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The vice minister said that the “tremendous anger and open hostility” that Mr. Trump complained about in his letter was the North Korean way of protesting Washington’s demand for “a unilateral nuclear dismantlement.”
“This unfortunate turn of event shows how serious is the deep-rooted problem between North Korea and the United States and why a summit meeting is so urgently needed,” the vice foreign minister said. But now North Korea, he said, was left wondering whether Mr. Trump “lacked a will or self-confidence” to deal with the North Koreans.