US President Donald Trump has cancelled a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and warned that the U.S. military was “more ready than ever before”
Trump made the announcement in a letter released by the White House on Thursday, a few hours after North Korea blew up its nuke testing site at Punggye-ri.
The summit was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore and would have been the first meeting between an American and North Korean leader.
Trump said the summit was called off “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility” from Kim, who threatened the US with a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”
“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” the letter read “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.”
Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong Un. pic.twitter.com/rLwXxBxFKx
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 24 May 2018
Press TV reports: The summit’s cancellation is a major blow to what Trump supporters hoped would have been the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.
The White House was caught off-guard when North Korea condemned the latest US-South Korean military drills, suspended North-South talks, and threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim summit.
Washington will “have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military” said the North’s official news agency KCNA on Tuesday.
The United States, which has substantial presence in South Korea, was on a war footing with the North over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
But relations have dramatically improved in the past four months and a half.
North Korea dismantled its sole known nuclear test site on Thursday in an array of explosions. The Punggye-ri test facility has been the staging ground for all six of the North’s nuclear tests, including its latest and by far most powerful one in September last year, which Pyongyang claimed was an H-bomb.
UN chief urges US, North Korea to press on with “nerves of steel”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged the parties to the North Korea talks to continue their diplomatic efforts with “nerves of steel” and strive work towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Speaking at the University of Geneva after Trump canceled his planned summit with North Korea’s leader, the UN chief said: “If I have a message to all the parties, what I ask for are nerves of steel so that one can put in place a process of dialogue capable of achieving our shared objective which must be peaceful denuclearization and verified denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
S Korea’s Moon expresses ‘deep regret’ over scrapped summit
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has expressed regret over Trump’s decision to call off his summit with North Korean leader, urging both sides to hold direct talks, Seoul’s presidential office said.
According to AFP, Moon said at an emergency national security meeting that it was “deeply regrettable that the US-North Korea summit will not take place as scheduled.”
“The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and permanent peace is a historic task that cannot be given up or delayed,” Moon said, adding “I hope that the leaders resolve the issue through more direct and close dialogue between themselves.”