WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said the June 12 summit with North Korea may be possible after all on Friday, a day after he canceled the event, saying North Korea’s response was “nice” and that both sides want to meet.
North Korea issued a statement Friday saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks “at any time, at any format.”
That prompted Trump to begin the day with a hopeful tweet: “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”
Then as he emerged from the White House to board Marine One, 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.”
Asked if North Korea is playing games, Trump said, “Everybody plays games. You know that better than anybody.”
In a tweet Friday evening, Trump said if the summit does take place, it would likely still be in Singapore and still on June 12, but could move beyond that date “if necessary.”
“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit,” the tweet said.
Trump on Thursday sent a letter to Kim Jong Un canceling the summit, blaming the “tremendous anger and open hostility” of Pyongyang but adding that he hoped the meeting still could happen.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan responded Friday in a Korean-language statement carried by state media. “We had hoped a ‘Trump-style solution’ would be a wise way to relieve worries from both sides, meet our demands and realistically resolve problems,” the statement said. “We tell the United States once more that we are open to resolving problems at any time in any way.”
Trump’s surprise exit capped weeks of high-stakes brinkmanship between the two unpredictable leaders over negotiating terms for what would be their unprecedented sit-down.
The U.S. announcement came not long after Kim appeared to make good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site.
But it also followed escalating frustration — and newly antagonistic rhetoric — from North Korea over comments from Trump aides about U.S. expectations for the North’s “denuclearization.”
A senior White House official later Thursday said North Korea had reneged on its promises ahead of the summit.
Trump said from the White House that a “maximum pressure campaign” of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation would continue against North Korea — with which the United States is technically still at war — but he added that it was possible the summit could still take place at some point.
Meanwhile, Trump stuck to his complaints that the FBI under President Barack Obama had spied on his campaign. In a series of tweets Friday morning, Trump rebuffed Democrats who said a classified intelligence briefing Thursday had not produced evidence of Trump’s assertions.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the stalwart Trump supporter and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who pushed for the briefing on the informant, did not talk to reporters or issue any statement after the briefing. The other four Republicans who had been briefed also remained silent.
“The Democrats are now alluding to the concept that having an Informant placed in an opposing party’s campaign is different than having a Spy, as illegal as that may be,” Trump tweeted. “But what about an ‘Informant’ who is paid a fortune and who ‘sets up’ way earlier than the Russian Hoax?”
Trump also tweeted a quote by a senior editor at the conservative Federalist website, saying that “everyone knows there was a spy.” Trump added, “But the corrupt Mainstream Media hates this monster story!”