Amid the uncertainty over the cancelled talks planned for June 12 between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, the hope remains that it will still be held after both sides issued conciliatory statements.
President Trump has never been known to speak kindly of most other people, but on the day he announced his decision to cancel the scheduled talks in Singapore, he wrote Kim: ”I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters.” He added: “The world and North Korea in particular has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is truly a sad moment in history.”
Then he said: “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”
President Trump has always been known for his ferocious and sarcastic tweets against his foes and his critics. At one time, he threatened “fire and fury” against Kim, who he belittled as the “little rocket man” in a speech at the United Nations. Now he appeared to be a totally different personality, inviting Kim to please call or write if he still wanted to meet in Singapore.
North Korea’s reaction to President Trump’s cancellation of the scheduled talks has been similarly conciliatory. First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said Trump’s decision was “regrettable” but North Korean officials, he added, were willing to “sit face-to-face at any time.”
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterrez spoke for the entire world when he urged both parties to continue their dialogue for peace. He pointed out that there are today some 15,000 nuclear weapons still in existence around the world, with hundreds “ready to be launched within minutes.” One mechanical, electronic, or human error could lead to a catastrophe that could eradicate entire cities, he said.
After President Trump’s announcement last Thursday of his cancellation of the June 12 talks, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in rushed to save the situation with a call to Washington. His efforts may have succeeded, because the very next day, President Trump said the June 12 meeting could go ahead after all.
In a nuclear war, the entire Korean Peninsula would probably suffer the most, but with 15,000 nuclear missiles still existing around the world, mostly in the US and in Russia, but also in many other countries, no place on this earth is truly safe.
We thus welcome the latest development in the Korea peace efforts – President Trump’s conciliatory words and North Korea’s own restraint. His first meeting with Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore may not immediately reach an agreement, but it will be a historic first step for world peace.
ASEANEWS EDITORIAL CARTOONS:.
7.1. The Daily Tribune – One step at a time
7.2 The Manila Bulletin – Conciliatory words save Trump-Kim talks
7.3. The Manila Standard –War is not an option
7.5. The Philippine Daily Inquirer –Crunch time for the BBL
8.1. For The Straits Times – Malaysia’s GST a victim of populist politics
Vikram Khanna-Associate Editor