Friday, May 25, 2018

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Trump cancels summit with Kim over broken promises



US President Donald Trump on Thursday called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming “open hostility” from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any “foolish or reckless acts.”

In a letter to Kim, Trump announced he would not go ahead with the high-stakes meeting set for June 12 in Singapore, following what the White House called a “trail of broken promises” by the North.

Just before Trump announced the cancellation of the talks, North Korea declared it had “completely” dismantled its nuclear test site, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit.

But the chances of success for the unprecedented face-to-face had recently been thrown into doubt.

Trump’s announcement, in which he vowed to pursue Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” through sanctions, came a day after Pyongyang hardened its rhetoric by attacking Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.”

“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,” read Trump’s letter to Kim, which was dictated word for word by the US leader, according to a senior White House official.

“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,” Trump said.

The Pentagon indicated it was braced to respond to possible “provocative actions” on Pyongyang’s part.

But the Republican president also held out hope that a meeting with Kim could still take place, saying: “It’s possible that the existing summit could take place, or a summit at some later date. Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.”

“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” he added.

Foreign leaders reacted with dismay to the summit collapse, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressing “deep regret” and summoning top security aides for emergency talks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the parties to keep talking, as did host Singapore, while Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held out hope that dialogue would resume and the talks would eventually take place.

Source: AFP

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