Trump's 'yes' then 'no' then 'yes' approach leaves Singapore summit fate unclear

Twenty-four hours after President Donald Trump ...

Posted: May 26, 2018 4:46 PM
Updated: May 26, 2018 4:46 PM

Twenty-four hours after President Donald Trump dictated a dejected letter to Kim Jong Un canceling their June 12 meeting, he appeared to reverse course, telling reporters Friday the diplomatic encounter could still occur on the same date if conditions keep improving.

Trump suggested the two sides were again speaking after an abrupt silence from North Korea prompted US officials to worry. White House aides were not halting some of the summit's planning, which was already underway in Singapore.

And in a tweet on Friday evening, Trump said the US is "having very productive talks with North Korea" about reinstating the summit, likely on the same date.

"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," Trump wrote.

It was a sign the President hasn't lost hope in the audacious foreign policy accomplishment he is eager to secure. Even as his aides express doubt the summit can be arranged in the next 18 days, Trump has told confidants and advisers he believes the original date may still hold. And he's grasped at glimmers of hope, in this case a conciliatory statement from Pyongyang that expressed continued openness to talks.

"It was a very nice statement they put out," Trump said on the South Lawn before departing in his helicopter for the US Naval Academy in Maryland, where he was delivering a commencement address. "We'll see what happens. It could even be the 12th. We're talking to them now."

"They very much want to do it," he continued. "We'd like to do it."

While far from a sure thing, Trump's remarks reflect new openness to reviving the talks, or at least rescheduling them. In his letter and during remarks on Thursday, Trump made clear the summit was off. But in conversations Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, Trump did not rule out restoring the meeting, according to people familiar with the conversations.

A planned trip by US officials to survey summit sites, which the White House formally announced on Wednesday, was not canceled, according to a person familiar with the matter. During a briefing with reporters on Thursday, a senior administration official refused to comment on the logistics trip, which is led by deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin.

But the official downplayed the likelihood of the summit proceeding on course.

"The ball is in North Korea's court right now, and there's really not a lot of time. We've lost quite a bit of time that we would need," the official said. "But there's a certain amount of actual dialogue that needs to take place at the working level with your counterparts to ensure that the agenda is clear in the minds of those two leaders when they sit down."

"June 12th," the official said, "is in 10 minutes."

That caution was absent in public remarks from US officials on Friday, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who told reporters the summit may be "back on."

"We have got some -- possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on, even," Mattis said before meeting with his Danish counterpart on Friday. He added that efforts to revive the June 12 summit are now in the hands of diplomats.

"I'll let them talk all they want, and then we'll all hope and pray the diplomats pull it off," he said.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters in the White House driveway a June 12 summit was "certainly a possibility."

"The President wants to have a meeting if it can provide real results and that's what he's said all along. It's going to be great for the world and certainly be good for North Korea," Sanders said. "We're always going to be prepared and if the meeting takes place on June 12 we'll be ready. If it takes place on July 12 we'll be ready. We're going to do whatever is necessary to prepare for that on that front."

North Korean reaction

Overnight, North Korea released a statement reiterating its interest in talks, even as it acknowledged the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang had deteriorated.

"We would like to make known to the US side once again that we have the intent to sit with the US side to solve problem(s) regardless of ways at any time," said North Korea's first vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kim Kye Gwan, in comments published Friday by the country's state-run news agency KCNA.

Kim also said Trump's decision was "not consistent with the desire of humankind for peace and stability in the world, to say nothing of those in the Korean Peninsula."

Trump awoke on Friday and welcomed the warmer language, which stood in sharp contrast to harsh statements over the past week that personally targeted US officials, including Vice President Mike Pence.

"Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea," Trump wrote Friday morning on Twitter. "We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!"

It wasn't clear on Friday at what level US officials were speaking with their North Korean counterparts, or whether they were discussing the possibility of putting a meeting between Trump and Kim back on the schedule. The White House on Thursday cited a prolonged period of silence as one of the factors in scrapping the June 12 date.

"We got a lot of dial tones," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Capitol Hill.

Another US official told reporters that North Korean officials failed to show up to a planned meeting with US aides to discuss the summit's logistics.

"The North Koreans didn't tell us anything, they simply stood us up," the official said.

Political waves

After news the summit was called off, some Democrats criticized Trump for the decision.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill that the canceled summit was "a good thing for Kim Jong Un."

Pelosi said the meeting "takes knowledge, this takes judgment and clearly it takes preparation, which the President didn't make."

"It's clear he didn't know what he was getting into," the California Democrat said. "And now he's walking away from it in this very chummy, palsy-walsy letter to Kim Jong Un. He, Kim Jong Un, is the big winner."

Trump on Friday claimed Democrats were "rooting" against his administration in its negotiations with North Korea.

"Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea," the President wrote on Twitter. "Just like they are coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured, or asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead. Dems have lost touch!"

On a White House-led conference call with political surrogates on Thursday, officials were "defensive" about the cancellation of the summit, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

"They were a little defensive about suggestions that we got ahead of ourselves on the summit," the person said, who described the administration's representatives on the call "genuinely hopeful" the summit would eventually happen.

Asked on Friday whether the North Koreans were playing him, Trump acknowledged they were -- and suggested he was, too.

"Everybody plays games. You know that," he told reporters when asked about the ongoing talks. "You know that better than anybody."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604184

Reported Deaths: 7620
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248631774
Ramsey52480895
Dakota46804470
Anoka42746458
Washington27416291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18137312
Scott17548135
Wright16370149
Olmsted13391102
Sherburne1201295
Carver1066448
Clay825892
Rice8196110
Blue Earth762543
Crow Wing681594
Kandiyohi667885
Chisago619752
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461251
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430361
Morrison424662
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386655
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311654
Brown307840
Le Sueur297226
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211021
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196441
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena162823
Fillmore157410
Faribault154419
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138837
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
Koochiching95217
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Wilkin83213
Lake83120
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370914

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58232640
Linn21204339
Scott20306247
Black Hawk16119312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461585
Dubuque13506211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11223174
Story1071448
Warren583991
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553593
Sioux517074
Webster515494
Muscatine4880106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth402981
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288261
Carroll286852
Crawford268540
Boone268434
Benton259655
Washington256751
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232351
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198535
Page194522
Buchanan193733
Cedar192223
Hardin187444
Fayette186543
Wright185940
Hamilton181851
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler166235
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163342
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152652
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union129935
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124717
Franklin123323
Guthrie123232
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96532
Monroe96330
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7598
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Van Buren56418
Ringgold56324
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3444
Rochester
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 75°
Mason City
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 80°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 80°
Charles City
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Another round of thunderstorms possible on Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

There's a nationwide blood shortage

Image

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday

Image

Aaron's Friday Forecast (6/18/21)

Image

Runner attacked by deer on Austin trail

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (6/17/21)

Image

Gov. Reynolds Signs Back The Blue Bill

Image

Preparing for severe weather with Emergency Management tips

Image

Improving Rochester transportation

Image

Ryan's Evening Forecast (6/14/21)

Image

Medical experts are concerned with new Delta variant

Community Events