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Trump on North Korea: ‘We’re talking to them now’

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President Donald Trump signaled Friday that U.S. and North Korean officials have reengaged in talks, praising their latest statement expressing a willingness to reenter discussions “at any time, at any format” just a day after he canceled the historic summit with their leader, Kim Jong Un.

“We’re going to see what happens. We’re talking to them now,” Trump said when asked by reporters outside the White House if the meeting with Kim is still on. “It was a very nice statement they put out. We’ll see what happens.”

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The president also suggested that a summit could still occur on June 12, as previously scheduled. “It could even be the twelfth,” he said.

Trump first broached the topic on Twitter earlier Friday, writing that he welcomed North Korea’s decision to voice a willingness to reenter into dialogue. One day after calling off a planned meeting in Singapore between himself and Kim — and warning the North Korean dictator about the United States’ formidable nuclear arsenal — Trump took a more conciliatory tone, saying that further discussions could lead to “enduring prosperity and peace.”

“Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea,” Trump tweeted. “We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”

Kim Kye Gwan, first vice minister of foreign affairs, issued a statement earlier on Friday saying North Korea was “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks. He added that his country’s “objective and resolve to do our best for the sake of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and all humankind remain unchanged.”

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are pictured on a television. | AP Photo

The statement brought a reprieve to the escalating public rhetoric from the two countries, which over the past few days took on a more aggressive tone as North Korean officials floated withdrawing from the historic summit and backed off assurances to discuss denuclearization with the U.S.

Trump on Thursday canceled the highly anticipated meeting with Kim, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” in recent remarks out of North Korea in a letter addressed to Kim and released by the White House.

The reversal followed a warning from North Korean vice minister of foreign affairs Choe Son Hui overnight Wednesday that Pyongyang could “make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined.” The foreign official, in a dramatic break with the diplomatic tenure of prior talks with U.S. officials, said that if talks were canceled, the two countries could instead engage in a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

Despite pulling out of the summit in response to the remarks, the president maintained in the letter to Kim and during a later televised address that he would be open to reentering talks with Kim and potentially rescheduling the summit.

“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write,” the president wrote to Kim. “The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth.”

The president also took aim at Democrats on Twitter Friday, whom he accused of seeking to undermine the negotiations.

“Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea,” he tweeted.

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