Earlier on Thursday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said her country "will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue, nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us". But his behaviour was nonetheless seen as a snub by many South Koreans, who were already upset by the treatment their president received during his visit to Washington earlier this week.
When I said I didn't know, he replied that he thought it was Donald Trump's move.
"[The cancellation of the summit] shows that the USA and North Korea remain deeply divided over the path to denuclearisation", Zhang said.
It's not even clear if Kim intends to give up his nuclear arsenal any time soon.
Still, some analysts are anxious the canceling of the talks could prompt a resumption in hostilities on the Korean peninsula, including renewed shorter-range missile tests or stepped-up cyber attacks by Pyongyang and increased sanctions or deployment of new military assets by Washington.
What about Mr Trump's cancellation letter?
North Korea hardened its rhetoric toward the US on Thursday, lashing out after remarks by Vice President Mike Pence and the White House national security adviser, John Bolton, that had linked the country to Libya. "But we shouldn't spend all our time thinking about the deal, without focusing on here's what this needs to look like in order to what president has said, to keep Americans safe from the threat that North Korea presents today", Pompeo added.
And in fact, North Korea's response to the cancellation has been fairly sanguine.
Separately, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the June 12 summit may still take place if diplomats can pull it off.
It was unclear whether Trump was engaged in what he saw as a negotiating ploy or if his moves were a manifestation of mounting internal concerns over ensuring a successful outcome for the summit. The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, called an emergency meeting just before midnight local time, saying: "I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the North Korea-US summit will not be held".
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In a personal letter to Mr Kim, Mr Trump announced on Thursday he would not go ahead with the June 12 summit in Singapore, following what the White House called a "trail of broken promises" by the North. "But it's Trump. He's decided not to enter talks while being pushed (by North Korea) like this", said Choi Kang, vice-president of Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
In a letter released by the White House on Thursday, Trump said, "I was very much looking forward to being there with you".
The cancellation of the summit brings with it the risk of a return to the tense stand-off and war of words between the United States and North Korea.
North Korea, responding to Trump's abrupt cancellation of the meeting over "hostility" from Pyongyang, said Friday that it is willing to talk to the United States "at any time".
"The deal was not there - even in the concept, in the abstract sense", said Park, a professor emeritus of worldwide relations at the University of Georgia who has visited North Korea more than 50 times. One sign, written in English, read "withdraw US troops".
Also demonstrating near the embassy were members of an all-women's delegation of representatives from civil society groups based in the U.S., U.K., Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and other countries. "The Korean train for peace is moving and if the USA wants to be a part of it, they better get moving".
Both Pence and Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton had raised the specter of Libyan leader Moamer Khadafi, who gave up atomic weapons only to die years later at the hands of US-backed rebels.
But on Friday, with the door left open for potential U.S.
"We believe that the only realistic way to resolve the military conflicts surrounding the Korean peninsula and achieve a peace regime and denuclearization is dialogue and negotiation", she said in a statement.