Donald Trump has cancelled his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, blaming increasingly hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang.
After several days during which the president appeared to be signalling that secret negotiations ahead of his planned meeting for June 12 were not going well, he said he was pulling out of the meeting because of the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement from Mr Kim. He called it a “missed opportunity” and “truly sad moment in history.”
It had been Mr Trump’s ambition to securing a peace deal with North Korea – something that none of his predecessors were able to do – has now apparently been placed on the back burner.
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“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” he said in a letter to North Korea which was made public. “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.”
Later, at the White House, President Trump said the US is “more ready than we have ever been before.” He warned that the US, South Korea and Japan are all ready should North Korea take any “foolish and reckless acts.”
“I have spoken to South Korea and Japan, and they are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden, any of the costs associated by the United States in operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us,” Trump said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with his top security and other aides after the release of the letter.
Blue House press secretary Yoon Young-chan said Mr Moon was meeting with his foreign minister, defense minister and his chief of staff, among others.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced deep disappointment at the cancellation of the planned meeting. Mr Guterres, in remarks delivered at the University of Geneva, said: “I am deeply concerned by the cancellation of the planned meeting in Singapore between the President of the United States and the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
He urged the parties to continue their dialogue so as to “find a path to the peaceful and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.