Trump cancels summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un; read full letter

Donald Trump cancels a summit with Kim Jong-un Photo: Reuters
Issuing a letter to Kim Jong-Un, US President Donald Trump on Thursday cancelled the much-awaited summit between the two presidents, hours after North Korea dismantled its nuclear test site, the White House confirmed.
 
In the letter, addressed to Kim, Trump said, "We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore." 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.
 
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.
 
Here's the full letter

Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jung Un. pic.twitter.com/qEoi9ymUEz

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
Here's what had happened before North Korea destroyed its nuclear site

North Korea carried out what it said is the demolition of its nuclear test site on Thursday, setting off a series of explosions over several hours in the presence of foreign journalists. The explosions at the nuclear test site deep in the mountains of the North's sparsely populated northeast were centered on three tunnels into the underground site and a number of observation towers in the surrounding area. The planned closing was previously announced by leader Kim Jong Un ahead of his planned summit with US President Donald Trump next month. The North's decision to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has generally been seen as a welcome gesture by Kim to set a positive tone ahead of the summit. Even so, it is not an irreversible move and would need to be followed by many more significant measures to meet Trump's demands for real denuclearization.

By bringing in the foreign media, mainly television networks, the North is apparently hoping to have images of the closing including explosions to collapse tunnel entrances broadcast around the world. The North did not invite international inspectors to the ceremony, which limits its value as a serious concession.

1. North Korea renewed summit threat: North Korea hit out at US Vice President Mike Pence calling him "ignorant and stupid" as the reclusive state made a renewed threat to cancel an upcoming summit between the two countries. Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement via the state-run KCNA news agency lambasting a recent media interview Pence gave to Fox News.

"I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president," she said in the statement. In his Monday interview with Fox, Pence warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that it would be a "great mistake" to try and play Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore. He also said North Korea could end up like Libya, whose former leader Moamer Khadafi was killed in an uprising years after giving up atomic weapons, "if Kim Jong Un doesn't make a deal".

2. N. Korea okays list of S. Korean journalists to cover nuclear site dismantlement: North Korea on Wednesday accepted the list of South Korean journalists chosen to cover the dismantlement of its nuclear test site.

South Korea welcomed the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The list of journalists including four from a newswire and four from a broadcaster was revealed through a communication channel.

"We expect that this will serve as a starting point for accomplishing complete denuclearization as swiftly as possible through the U.S.-North Korea summit and talks at various channels," the ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said.

3. US committed to achieving denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "We are committed to achieving denuclearisation and creating conditions such that the North Korean regime no longer threatens the world." "Will do what it takes to make sure that this is a successful meeting, whether that's meeting with the North Koreans in some third country or whatever it may take. We are prepared," Pompeo said.

"The President will ask us to ensure that we've done all we can to make sure that we have the real opportunity to have this historic successful outcome," he said.

4. While Kim has portrayed the demolition as a natural step after declaring his nuclear weapons program “complete,” South Korean and U.S. officials have interpreted as a gesture of good faith ahead of next month’s planned summit with Trump. Arms control experts say the move won’t impede further weapons development by Kim and the effort has been compared to North Korea’s destruction of 2008 nuclear reactor cooling tower.