US President Donald Trump flip-flopped again on Friday, when he told media that the US-North Korea summit scheduled for June 12 in Singapore could still happen, and that the two sides are holding talks. "We'll see what happens," Trump said.
About 24 hours earlier, Trump announced his decision to cancel the scheduled US-North Korea summit in an open letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The announcement has sent shockwaves across the Korean Peninsula and sparked global speculation. In the letter, Trump cited the "tremendous anger and open hostility" displayed in Pyongyang's recent rhetoric. Hours before the cancellation, North Korea followed through on its pledge to demolish the country's only nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.
This led to widespread concern that North Korea could launch some form of retaliation based on the cancellation. However, in a statement issued Friday by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, Pyongyang responded with a calm demeanor.
North Korea said, "As for the 'tremendous anger and open hostility' referred by President Trump, it is just a reaction to the unbridled remarks made by the US side, which has long pressed the DPRK unilaterally to scrap its nuclear program ahead of the DPRK-US summit."
North Korea also stated that it has the intention to sit with the US side "face-to-face at anytime, in any form, to resolve the problem."
Trump then took to Twitter on Friday, saying, "Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea."
"It could even be the 12th, they (North Korea) very much want to do it, we would like to do it, we will see what happens," Trump said to reporters, hinting that the US-North Korea summit could still happen.
Is the cancellation announcement just a risky act of drama before the summit? The world needs a little more time to digest everything that has happened in the past 48 hours and to catch up with President Trump's rapid and unpredictable decision-making. However, the situation has taken a positive turn on Friday morning, adding a sense of hope to the prospect of resolution for the Korean Peninsula.
It is difficult to predict what will happen between the US and North Korea going forward. The Peninsula situation has somehow managed to get back on track, even after the North Korean official denounced the US, and Trump announced the cancellation of the US-North Korean summit. The tenacity of the Korean Peninsula situation is unexpected, as many said that the situation is "doomed." However, different sides have worked hard to stop the situation from being derailed. Such tenacity might be one of the most valuable features and deserves to be promoted and carried forward.
Both sides now have growing resolution to solve the Korean conflict through peaceful dialogue. Such resolution is likely to have restrained themselves from going to the extreme in the latest exchange. Despite explaining the US firm stance in Thursday's letter, Trump used polite language and left an open-ended conclusion. North Korea's response protected its self-esteem while expressing its willingness for continued dialogues.
President Trump quickly accepted the goodwill of Pyongyang, saying that North Korea's statement was "warm and productive." Even if the US and North Korea "planned" these friendly interaction, they would be difficult to execute.
After all these shocking twists and turns, it has become clear that North Korea and the US both intend to hold the Trump-Kim summit since both have a strong desire to make the meeting a milestone in the transition of the Peninsula situation. Both countries are preparing for the Trump-Kim summit with a serious attitude, and the decision to hold the summit has withstood another test.
The difference of the US and North Korea cannot be drastically diminished in a day's time. There are still numerous difficult challenges ahead on the road to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. However, if both countries can maintain and channel their recent positive energy into their subsequent talks, that could make a real difference for the prospect of peace on the Korean Peninsula. The formula people used to calculate the Peninsula situation would also change.
The preparation for Trump-Kim summit is also bringing up many new possibilities for diplomacy. North Korea and the US have shown they are willing to work together, regardless of their differences. For Washington, this is a new stance in regard to its diplomatic history. The summit will also likely improve the possibility of complete denuclearization as opposed to worsening the Peninsula's situation.
The Chinese people wish for a positive result from this recent roller-coaster-type situation concerning the Korean Peninsula. It is not a healthy mindset to think China somehow plays a hand in the recent events and is deliberately creating complications. These suspicions will soon vanish.