US President Donald Trump cancelled a planned meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on Thursday because Pyongyang refused to reply to White House requests to help organise the event, among other “broken promises” in the run-up to the summit, a senior White House official said.
“They waited and they waited. The North Koreans never showed up. They simply stood us up,” the official said, referring to coordinating sessions planned to take place in Singapore last week. The summit had been scheduled for Singapore on June 12.
North Korea responded early on its Friday morning, saying the government was still “open” to a meeting, and would work with the US “at any time, in any way”.
I have decided to terminate the planned Summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world… pic.twitter.com/jT0GfxT0Lc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
“We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump said in the 161-word letter
Our [nuclear capabilities] are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they never have to be used US President Donald Trump, in his letter to North Korea
“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 never have to be used.”
Trump later tweeted a copy of the letter, saying he was “sadly … forced” to cancel the summit. He posted the letter a second time an hour later, as he had misspelled the leader’s name as “Kim Jung Un” in his initial tweet.
“We had set in high regards President Trump’s efforts, unprecedented by any other president, to create a historic North Korea-US summit,” responded North Korea’s vice-foreign minister, Kim Kye-gwan, in a statement released by the North’s central news agency, according to Reuters.
“We tell the United States once more that we are open to resolving problems at any time in any way,” he added.
Asked what factor weighed more heavily in Trump’s decision to cancel the summit – North Korean officials’ failure to show up in Singapore or the “open hostility” – the White House official said a verbal attack by a senior North Korean official on US Vice-President Mike Pence “wasn’t helpful”.
South Korea’s presidential office expressed confusion over Trump’s motives after the announcement. Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters, “[We] are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it,” Yonhap News Agency said.
The meeting between Trump and Kim had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that it would happen as planned, even as he began to express doubts about the preparations.