The Latest: S. Korea PM sad that Trump-Kim summit canceled

By The Associated Press | Posted - May 25th, 2018 @ 5:29am

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump canceling his planned summit with North Korea (all times local):

8 p.m.

The prime minister of South Korea has expressed sadness that the planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been canceled.

Speaking through a translator during a trip to Austria on Friday, Lee Nak-yeon told reporters that "we find it very sad that the summit that was announced between the United States and North Korea can't take place after all."

Lee said that South Korea still hopes to build on a recent historic meeting between North Korea's Kim and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in to make progress on a peace deal between the two countries.

Lee told reporters that "we will continue to work to create peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Trump canceled the planned summit on Thursday, citing "hostility" displayed by North Korea.


7 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he regrets that U.S. President Donald Trump has called off his summit with North Korea's leader but that he supports Trump's decision.

Abe said "it's a pity" that the talks won't take place, but that he respects and supports Trump's judgment. He said Japan had been in close contact with Washington ahead of the summit that had been scheduled for June 12.

Abe, currently in Moscow, said he plans to discuss the latest developments on North Korea with President Vladimir Putin when he meets him on Saturday.

He said Japan will continue cooperating with the U.S., South Korea and other countries to achieve North Korea's denuclearization, and he wants to follow up with Trump as soon as he returns home.


6:30 p.m.

North Korea's ally China says the parties involved in the now-canceled U.S.-North Korea summit need to reflect on themselves rather than blaming others.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was responding to a question about President Donald Trump's claim of a hardening in North Korea's attitude following a meeting earlier this month between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Lu said China had been consistent in encouraging dialogue, but that required "all related parties, especially those directly concerned, to go along with each other and express goodwill to resolve the peninsular issue properly."

He added that, "In this regard, I think relevant parties should reflect upon themselves first that whether they did a good job on it."

Lu said China hoped the U.S. and North Korea would cherish the progress made, "stay patient, express goodwill, meet each other halfway and stay committed to addressing each other's concerns."


6 p.m.

News reports say the commander of U.S. Forces Korea has said President Donald Trump's cancellation of his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn't mean that the doors are closed to a future meeting to resolve the nuclear standoff.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Friday that Gen. Vincent Brooks made the comments during a seminar in Seoul.

Yonhap quoted Brooks as saying: "I am not worried about it because the opportunity is not lost. It is just delayed. ... Don't worry about what happened last night because it may have been too early to celebrate, it is also too early to quit. Never quit."

South Korea's Unification Ministry also maintained an optimistic tone, referring to the North's conciliatory reaction to Trump's announcement and its hope a summit could take place later.

Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun said: "There have been no changes in the stance of related parties in that the problem should be solved through dialogue."


2 p.m.

North Korea said Friday that it's still willing to sit for talks with the United States "at any time, (in) any format," a remarkably restrained and diplomatic response, from a nation noted for its proud belligerence, to U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt cancellation of a summit with the North's autocratic leader, Kim Jong Un.

The statement by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, a longtime nuclear negotiator and senior diplomat, which said the North is "willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities" to reconsider talks that had been set for June 12 in Singapore, could be driven by a need to use the summit to ease crushing international sanctions, or by a determination that a summit with the mercurial Trump is the best opportunity the North will ever have to elevate itself, and its nuclear program, to equality with its archrival.

Kim Kye Gwan's statement is the latest whiplash development in efforts to diplomatically address what might be the world's most dangerous standoff. Focus will now swing back to how Trump will respond to the North's seemingly conciliatory gesture.

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