Trump abruptly cancels summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

"Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you," President Trump wrote to the North Korean dictator

Published May 24, 2018 11:29AM (EDT)


President Donald Trump has notified North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un that he is calling off their much-anticipated meeting, which had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

In a letter to Kim dated May 24, 2018, Trump abruptly announced that he would not attend the summit, citing the "tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement." Trump was referring to recent comments from a senior North Korean official who described Vice President Mike Pence as "ignorant and stupid."

"We greatly appreciate your time, patience and effort," Trump wrote in an overly deferential letter which referred to Kim as "His Excellency" and "Mr. Chairman."

Trump lamented the breakdown in talks, telling Kim, "I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me." The president concluded: "Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you."

The announcement from the White House came hours after North Korea appeared to destroy at least three nuclear tunnels, observation buildings, a metal foundry and living quarters at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in a process observed by invited international journalists, CNN reports.

North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui blamed Vice President Mike Pence for his "unbridled and impudent remarks that North Korea may end like Libya," where then-leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels in 2011 after renouncing nuclear weapons eight years earlier.

"There was some talk about the Libya model," Pence told Fox News' Martha MacCallum last week. "As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn't make a deal."

Choe's remarks were the second time in a week that North Korea has cast doubt on Kim's planned encounter with Trump.

North Korea threatened to postpone the talks last week when Kim Kye Gwan, a vice foreign minister of North Korea, warned that his country could call off the meeting if the United States demanded "unilateral nuclear abandonment." The official rejected the Trump administration's demand that it quickly abandon its nuclear program as Libya had done 15 years ago, singling out John R. Bolton, Trump's new national security adviser, for condemnation.

The South Koreans, for their part, appeared to have been left in a lurch. According to the Associated Press, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency quoted a presidential office spokesman as saying they “are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it.”

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By Shira Tarlo

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Kim Jong Un North Korea Nuclear Talks