Washington, (UNA-OIC) – US President Donald Trump canceled next month’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” in recent statements from Pyongyang.
In a letter addressed to “Dear Mr. Chairman,” Trump said it would be “inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” which was set for June 12 in Singapore.
“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote.
Earlier, a senior North Korean official had said it was up to Washington to choose talks or confrontation.
“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,” Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement published by North Korean state news agency KCNA.
North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and missile research have been a source of international tension for decades. The cancellation of the summit was “for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world,” Trump told Kim.
“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.”
The White House’s release of the Trump’s letter followed North Korea’s announcement earlier Thursday that it had destroyed its only known nuclear test site.
In what was seen as a symbolic step toward denuclearization, reporters from South Korea, the US, China, Russia and Britain were allowed to witness multiple explosions on the site in the remote north-eastern area of Punggye-ri.
International nuclear experts were not been invited to inspect the Punggye-ri weapons test site, a spokeswoman of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization said in Vienna.
Trump held out the possibility to Kim of resetting the summit.
“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write,” he said.
Later, Trump suggested that the original meeting could be salvaged.
“It’s possible that the existing summit can take place, or a summit at a later date,” Trump said in remarks at the White House.
Reviving some of the tough talk that preceded the first announcement in March of plans for a summit, he said the US military was “ready if necessary.”
“Likewise, I have spoken to South Korea and Japan,” Trump said, ” 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.”
Yet the cancellation apparently surprised South Korea.
“(We) are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it,” Yonhap news agency quoted Kim Eui Kyeom, a spokesman for President Moon Jae In, as saying.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted that the parties should to “continue dialogue to find a path towards the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump’s letter thanked Kim for the “beautiful gesture” of releasing three US citizens detained by Pyongyang, and Trump wrote that “Someday, I look very much forward to meeting you.”
“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters,” Trump said, calling the cancellation “truly a sad moment in history.”
Source: International Islamic News Agency