All Sections

Home | Politics

Trump cancels summit with Kim, warns military ready

By Joyce Lee
By DAVID BRUNNSTROM and MATT SPETALNICK
Reuters

May 24. 2018 11:24AM
A man walks past a TV in Seoul, South Korea broadcasting a news report on the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)



WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday called off a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scheduled for next month, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility,” and warned that the U.S. military was ready in the event of any reckless acts by North Korea.


Trump wrote a letter to Kim to announce his abrupt withdrawal from what would have been the first-ever meeting between a serving president and a North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote.

It was a dramatic end to weeks of optimistic statements from Trump that by meeting with Kim he might succeed where previous presidents had failed and persuade North Korea to give up a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States.

On Wednesday evening Washington time, North Korea had repeated its threat to pull out of the summit and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.

White House officials said that statement in which Pyongyang also condemned Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” was “the last straw.”

One senior official said there had been “a trail of broken promises” from North Korea “that has given the United States pause.” That included the North Koreans not showing up to a planned meeting in Singapore last week.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met Kim twice in Pyongyang, said North Korea had not responded to contacts in recent days and Trump had made his decision after meetings on Wednesday in which he concluded the summit would not be successful.

“We got a lot of dial tones,” Pompeo said, adding it was disappointing but “frankly not a surprise.”

Speaking at the White House, Trump said he remained open to dialog but had spoken to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and warned North Korea against any “reckless act.”

He said U.S. allies South Korea and Japan also were ready to shoulder much of the financial burden “if an unfortunate situation is forced upon us” by North Korea.

’We’ll see’

Asked if the summit cancellation increased the risk of war, Trump replied: “We’ll see what happens.”

He said the United States would continue its “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump’s move sent global share markets sharply lower before they regained some footing. 

Safe-haven buying of U.S. Treasury bonds pushed their yields lower, while the dollar weakened.

The outlook for the meeting soured dramatically this month when North Korea angrily rejected the notion that it would agree to unilateral nuclear disarmament as Washington has demanded.

Trump has said he detected a change in Kim’s attitude after the second of two recent visits the North Korean made to China and that he was possibly being influenced by Beijing, with which the United States is embroiled in a major trade dispute.

The cancellation came just hours after North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its main nuclear test site, which Pyongyang said was proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing.

The senior White House official said that among North Korea’s broken promises was one to allow experts to witness the dismantlement of the site, which meant there was no one there to verify what actually occurred. Only a small group of international media handpicked by North Korea witnessed the demolition at the Punggye-ri site.

North Korea’s announcement of its plan to destroy its only nuclear test site had been widely welcomed as a positive, if largely symbolic, step. Kim has declared his nuclear force complete, amid speculation the site was obsolete anyway.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan responded to Trump’s announcement by saying Pyongyang remained open to resolving issues “at any time in any way.”


Politics


Newsletter Signup


New Hampshire Highland Games
Friday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.,
Saturday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.,
Sunday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Full Throttle Weekend
Saturday, 8 a.m.

Portsmouth Fairy House Tour
Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Thomas Rhett
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.