WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump canceled a planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, citing the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement from North Korea.
Trump said in a letter to Kim released Thursday by the White House that based on the statement, he felt it was “inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”
Trump wrote that the planned June 12 Singapore summit “for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”
Hours earlier a senior North Korean official had questioned the value of the talks and said her country is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table. Her comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence suggested the North may end up like Libya if it doesn’t move forward with denuclearization.
In his letter, Trump said the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, “but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
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 thanked Kim for the recent release of three Korean-Americans who were held in North Korea.
“If you change your mind having to do with the most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write,” Trump ended. “The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.”
Earlier, Choe Son Hui, the vice minister of foreign affairs, was quoted Thursday by the North’s state-run news agency slamming as “ignorant” and “stupid” comments Pence made in an interview with Fox News that compared North Korea to Libya, saying they showed he does not understand North Korea’s situation.
“We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” KCNA quoted her as saying. “Whether the US 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.”
Choe, a veteran diplomat and former head of the North America desk at the country’s Foreign Ministry, was responding to comments Pence made to Fox News this week that it would be a “mistake” for the North Koreans to think they can “play” Trump. Pence said both the Clinton and Bush administrations had been “played” by the North Korean government.
“In view of the remarks of the US high-ranking politicians who have not yet woken up to this stark reality and compare the DPRK to Libya that met a tragic fate, I come to think that they know too little about us,” Choe said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name.
She added: “To borrow their words, we can also make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.”
North Korea on Thursday went through with a major gesture of goodwill by dismantling its nuclear test site. The North, which has vowed to stop all underground nuclear testing and intercontinental ballistic missile launches, invited foreign media to the remote site to observe a ceremony to mark the closing. The demolition was carried out before the White House published Trump’s letter.