President Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Written by on May 24, 2018

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump in a letter directly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday announced that he is canceling the much anticipated nuclear summit, calling it a “truly sad moment in history.”

“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. 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.”

The White House

The president’s letter comes after North Korea issued a statement calling Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” for comments he made suggesting that the so-called Libya model could be applied to North Korea if Kim doesn’t make a deal with President Trump and threatening to pull out of the summit.

At the U.S.’s urging, under the leadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya, nixed its early-stage nuclear program. Years, later he was ousted and killed with help from NATO-backed troops.

“Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” the North Korean statement read.

In an apparent response to the North Korean threat, the president issued a threat of his own in his letter — warning about the United States’ “massive” nuclear capabilities.

“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,” Trump writes.

In the letter, the president leaves open the possibility of meeting at a future date, telling Kim to reach out to him directly by phone or letter if he decides he would like to meet.

“Someday, I look very much forward to meeting you,” Trump writes. “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”

Later in the day, Trump spoke further about the summit’s cancelation calling it a “tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world”.

He also said that he has spoken with Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ensure the U.S. military “is ready if necessary”.

Asked by ABC News if the breakdown of the summit raises the risk for war with North Korea, Trump would not answer definitively.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “I really think they want to do what’s right.”

In the president’s letter to Kim, Trump referenced “wonderful dialogue [that] was building up between you and me,” raising the potential question of whether the president had spoken directly to Kim in recent weeks. The White House and President Trump have thus far refused to say whether there has been any direct contact between the two.

In his comments to reporters, the president expanded saying “there’s been a very good working relationship” with Kim but lamented about how it recently seemed to spiral downward.

The president would not elaborate further, though earlier in the week he suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping may have privately urged Kim in a recent meeting to take a tougher stance in negotiations with the U.S.

“I will say I’m a little disappointed, because when Kim Jong-un had the meeting with President Xi, in China,” Trump said Tuesday. “I think there was a little change in attitude from Kim Jong-un.”

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