This morning Ed reported that President Trump had canceled his planned summit with Kim Jong-Un. This afternoon, Trump called the cancelation a “tremendous setback for North Korea” and for the world. But as Allahpundit noted, Trump also left the door open a crack saying, “If and when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.” It turns out Trump didn’t have to wait long. From Bloomberg:
In a statement Friday by state-run KCNA that cited Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea vowed to continue to pursue peace and signaled it would give Washington more time to reconsider talks.
“Our goal and will to do everything for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and mankind remains unchanged, and we are always willing to give time and opportunity to the US side with a big and open mind,” according to the statement. “We express our intent that there is a willingness to sit at any time, in any way to resolve issues.”
So is there a chance the June 12 meeting could be back on? Not likely according to Bloomberg’s source:
A senior administration official later downplayed the idea that the meeting could be put back on track for June 12. The North Koreans, the official said, have recently stopped cooperating on preparations for the summit. For example, U.S. officials traveled to Singapore last week expecting to meet with North Korean counterparts, but the North Koreans never showed up.
“They stood us up,” the official said at a briefing for reporters conducted on condition of anonymity.
The NY Times story on the cancelation points out that President Trump believes North Korea blew up the meeting on orders from President Xi of China:
Mr. Trump has said he believes North Korea’s tone changed after Mr. Kim met President Xi Jinping in the coastal Chinese city of Dalian in early May. Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Xi might be using China’s influence over North Korea as leverage in trade negotiations with the United States.
“I think Xi told Kim to slow down,” said Joseph Y. Yun, who was until recently the State Department’s senior diplomat on North Korea. “Also, I think Kim was getting pushback from his own folks, as Trump was.”
Trump has said all along that a resolution of the North Korean problem depended on China. Now it seems China is pulling the leash a bit rather than allowing Trump to get credit for a big foreign policy win. Instead, it seems plausible Xi is looking for something in exchange for his blessing of a denuclearization deal.