US President Donald Trump yesterday informed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that he was canceling their nuclear summit next month in Singapore, blaming “anger” and “hostility” from the North’s regime for the collapse.
Trump and Kim had been due to hold high-stakes talks on June 12 aimed at ridding North Korean of nuclear weapons, but the meeting was recently thrown into doubt as both sides raised the prospect of scrapping the discussions and traded threats.
Trump’s letter came after North Korea attacked US Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid” and just hours after it dismantled three tunnels and a number of observation towers at its main Punggye-ri test site before an audience of foreign journalists, mostly from television networks.
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim released by the White House.
“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place,” he wrote.
Trump also brandished the threat of the US’ nuclear might in his letter: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
However, Trump’s letter appeared to leave the door open to a future meeting with Kim, as he wrote that he had been “very much looking forward to being there.”
“We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions” relative to the summit, he wrote.
“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters,” Trump said. “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.
“The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history,” he wrote.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that North Korea had not responded to repeated requests from US officials to discuss logistics for summit.
That lack of response was an additional reason for Trump’s decision to call off the meeting, he said.
The North’s attitude had changed markedly since he returned from a trip to Pyongyang earlier this month, when he met with Kim and secured the release of three US prisoners being held there, Pompeo said.
US Senator Bob Menendez, a Democratic member of the committee, said that Trump’s withdrawal showed “the art of diplomacy is a lot harder than the art of the deal.”
It was “pretty amazing” that Trump’s Republican administration would be shocked that North Korea “is acting as North Korea might very well normally act.” Menendez said. “I’m not sure that constantly quoting the Libya model is the diplomatic way to try to get to the results that we seek in North Korea because that didn’t work out too well for [former Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned” by news that the summit had been canceled.
“I urge the parties to continue their dialogue to find a path to a peaceful and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Guterres said as he presented a new UN disarmament agenda in Geneva, Switzerland.
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