US Summit with North Korea could be back on after "very productive talks"

The announcement comes just days after President Trump cancelled the meeting

US Summit with North Korea could be back on after "very productive talks"

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of US President Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, 26-05-2018. Image: Lee Jin-man/AP/Press Association Images

Next month's highly-anticipated summit between the United States and North Korea could be back on – after Donald Trump tweeted that "very productive talks" were ongoing with Pyongyang.

The announcement comes just days after the US president cancelled the schedule summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un.

President Trump had blamed the North Korean regime's "tremendous anger and open hostility" as he pulled out of the talks, saying the world had "lost a great opportunity for lasting peace."

But late on Friday, President Trump tweeted: "We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date."

Asked earlier on Friday if the North Koreans were playing games with their communications, Mr Trump responded: "Everybody plays games. You know that better than anybody."

While the president did not detail the nature of the new US communication with the North, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said at the Pentagon: "The diplomats are still at work on the summit, possibility of a summit, so that is very good news."

Hopeful

North Korea's vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan seemed hopeful that the meeting could still go ahead one day.

He said: "His sudden and unilateral announcement to cancel the summit is something unexpected to us and we cannot but feel great regret for it."

He also added that North Korea remained open to resolving issues with Washington "regardless of ways, at any time, any format."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the completed Koam-Tapchon Railways in Gangwon-do, North Korea, 25-05-2018. Image:  AP/Press Association Images

Meanwhile, South Koreans said they had not been informed about the US decision to pull out, with Seoul officials having said just days earlier there was a "99.9%" chance of the meeting going ahead as planned.

The presidential Blue House said it was trying to figure out Mr Trump's intentions in cancelling the summit.

International response

China said the US and North Korea should show patience, encouraging them to "show goodwill and meet each other halfway."

Russian president Vladimir Putin, an ally of North Korea, said Mr Kim had in fact done "everything that he had promised in advance, even blowing up the tunnels and shafts" of his country's nuclear testing site.

Singapore said it regretted the cancellation of the summit and Japan said it only wanted a summit where North Korea would commit to denuclearisation.