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N. Korea says it still hopes to hold talks with U.S.

Posted May. 26, 2018 07:38,   

Updated May. 26, 2018 07:38


The United States has continued its pressure even after President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of a highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un through a publicly disclosed letter to Kim at 10:46 p.m. Thursday. Trump stressed that the U.S. military is ready if necessary, and Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White also said that the military stands by its motto to be ready to “fight tonight.”

Following the U.S. decision, North Korea expressed its hopes to hold the summit through a statement in the name of Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan published at 7:26 a.m. Friday. “A summit between the leaders of the two countries is desperately needed to resolve the hostile relations,” he said, describing the summit as the “first step towards resolving issues” and “a starting point for improved relations” though they “must not expect too much at their first attempt.”

North Korea’s expression‎ of its willingness to hold talks seems to be rooted in its judgement that the prolonged postponement of a summit would not do any good to the country. Having already released U.S. detainees and blown up the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, the North cannot afford to miss the timing to bring Trump back to the negotiating table. Moreover, if the North Korean economy continues to worsen due to current sanctions, the country will have to find itself in a more unfavorable position in future talks. Washington’s abrupt push for strengthened military pressure is also a burden for North Korea.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com