The White House on Thursday announced that President Donald Trump has canceled an upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote in a letter addressed to Kim. “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.”
A letter from the President to Chairman Kim Jong Un: "It is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." pic.twitter.com/3dDIp55xu1
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 24, 2018
Trump also threatened Kim in the letter about the U.S. nuclear program. “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.”
The meeting was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore, after Trump in March accepted an invitation to meet.
South Korean presidential Blue House expressed shock at the announcement on Thursday. “We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means,” spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told the Washington Post’s Anna Fifield.
Officials in both North Korea and the United States have expressed reservations about the summit since March.
Last month, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton suggested that the United States pursue the “Libya model” of denuclearization in North Korea. Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi promised the country would abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons in 2003. In 2011, U.S. and NATO forces invaded Libya after protests in the country. Officials in Pyongyang quickly condemned the comments and threatened to call off the summit.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told members of the House Foreign Affairs committee that it was up to Kim whether a meeting would happen. He did not give any indications that Trump would cancel the meeting the next day. Pompeo was not able to confirm whether the United States would be considering regime change in North Korea, and instead stressed that the Trump administration was seeking a “rapid de-nuclearization, total and complete.”
Also on Wednesday, North Korean officials said they destroyed a nuclear site ahead of the summit. Foreign journalists witnessed a huge explosion at the testing facility, but no independent nuclear inspectors were present.
Trump previously said that “everyone thinks” he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for the summit with North Korea. This was based on a mistranslation of something South Korean President Moon Jae-In said. Responding to a letter suggesting that Moon should receive the Peace Prize, Moon said Trump can take the prize and “We only need to take peace.” The comments were later used by Trump supporters and several Republican lawmakers to nominate him for the peace prize.
A source close to Trump told BuzzFeed News’ Tarini Parti on Thursday that Trump withdrew from the summit due to the tactics explained in his book Art of the Deal. “The book is a best seller for a reason,” the source said. “The tactics work.”
Trump, who has repeatedly bragged about his ability to make a deal since the book was published, has withdrawn from the negotiations with North Korea and also violated and withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal earlier this month.
All we have now is this weird commemorative coin the White House Military Office issued with the faces of Kim and Trump.
This is a developing news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.