North Korea says its harsh rhetoric was tit-for-tat but claims it’s still willing to ‘sit’ with U.S.

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A top North Korean official blamed “excessive words and actions from the U.S. side” for North Korean comments that U.S. President Donald Trump said inspired his decision to cancel a historic summit next month.

Trump announced Thursday morning that he was canceling a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore that had been planned for June 12. He cited “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement by the North Koreans as motivating the move.

The official, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, said in a statement published by the state-run news agency KCNA on Friday (Thursday evening ET) that the comments the president mentioned were only a reaction to the Trump administration’s earlier remarks.

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The vice foreign minister said in the statement on KCNA that “we have inwardly highly appreciated President Trump for having made the bold decision, which any other U.S. presidents dared not,” referring to the now-defunct summit. He added that the “one-sided cancellation” was a regrettable surprise, according to an NBC News translation.

“His sudden and unilateral announcement to cancel the summit is something unexpected to us, and we can not but feel great regret for it,” Kim said, according to an NBC News translation. “It is hard to guess the reasons. It could be that he lacked the will for the summit or he might not have felt confident.”

Regardless, Kim said, “we are making it clear that we are willing to sit down any time and in any way to solve the problem.”

Kim Kye Gwan said that Kim Jong Un had “made every effort to make the meeting with President Trump a good start” and that “we are willing to give the U.S. the time and opportunity with our big and open heart.”



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