President Donald Trump just canceled his meeting with Kim Jong Un scheduled for next month in Singapore because North Korea was mean to Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump made the call Thursday morning over the “tremendous anger and open hostility” North Korea showed in a recent statement about the vice president, the president wrote in a letter to “chairman” Kim.
Just hours earlier, North Korea labeled Pence a “political dummy, ignorant, and stupid.” The Hermit Kingdom also threatened to “make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined” and added that if the summit did not go ahead, it would result in a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”
Also hours earlier, foreign journalists confirmed that North Korea had followed through on its promise to destroy its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
Trump, however, didn’t completely close the door on a future meeting and wrote that he looks forward to meeting Kim “some day.” Trump also noted that if Kim changed his mind about the Singapore summit, then he should call or write to Trump — though it’s unclear what that means, given Trump was the one who cancelled the meeting.
Both Trump and Kim had been threatening to cancel the summit ever since it was announced in March. Trump had warned that he was willing to walk away from the negotiating table if he didn’t get his way, and earlier this week, he hinted he was about to cancel: “There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out.”
Kim had also threatened to call off the meeting. He first complained about ongoing military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea and then blasted comments made by National Security Adviser John Bolton that North Korea could follow a “Llibya model” of denuclearization.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave some more background on why Trump made his decision Thursday morning. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that North Korea simply did not respond to repeated requests from U.S. officials to discuss the logistics of the Singapore summit.
“Over the past many days, we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, was to put teams, preparation teams together to begin to work to prepare for the summit, and we had received no response to our inquiries from them,” Pompeo said.
Here’s the full text of Trump’s letter to Kim:
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 24, 2018
Kim ong Un
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
of the Democratic People?s Republic of Korea
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent
negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was
scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was
requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking
forward to being there with you. 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. 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.
I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is
only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In
the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with
their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.
If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not
hesitate to call me or write. 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 momen in history.
Donald J. Trump
President of the United Stat of America
Cover image: People watch a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)