On Thursday, President Donald Trump shared the letter that he sent to the North Korean leader to cancel their highly anticipated diplomatic summit. In Trump's letter to Kim Jong Un, he wrote that he thinks it would be "inappropriate" for the meeting to still take place.
The summit would have occurred between Kim and Trump in Singapore on June 12. It was intended to open a dialogue about ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But now those hopes have been dashed.
"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," Trump wrote in his letter to Kim on Thursday.
Trump indicates in the note that he would still be willing to meet with Kim eventually, if North Korea's behavior changes. He also thanks Kim for releasing three American hostages earlier this month and boasts about the United States' weapons program. "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," he wrote.
In referring to Kim's "most recent statement," Trump means the comments that a North Korean vice-minister published via the country's state media outlet KCNA on Thursday. Choe Son Hui criticized Vice President Mike Pence, calling him a "political dummy" and saying, "As a person involved in the US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice president."
Choe was responding to Pence's interview on Fox News on Monday, in which the vice president said it was a "fact" that North Korea would have to face "the Libyan model" if Kim refused to give up his nuclear weapons. Pence was supporting the statements of National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had previously offered up Libya as a useful example for proceeding forward with North Korean diplomacy. Kim issued a statement mentioning Bolton on March 16 in which he asserted that "we do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him."
"Whether the U.S. 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," Choe said on Thursday. It seems that Trump didn't want to wait to let North Korea decide whether or not it approved of the United States' behavior enough to move forward.
But there are other reasons he canceled, too, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On Thursday, Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the United States had had trouble setting up the meeting's logistics with North Korea. Apparently they kept reaching out to Kim's people and didn't hear back.
"Over the past many days, we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed," he said, "which was to put teams, preparation teams together to begin to work to prepare for the summit and we have received no response to our inquiries from them."
“I don’t believe in that sense that we’re in a position to believe that there could be a successful outcome,” Pompeo added. “I think that’s what the president communicated pretty clearly in his letter."
Pompeo had previously indicated that the United States intended to take a hardline, all-or-nothing stance about the summit. On Wednesday, he said that Trump would leave the upcoming meeting if the North Koreans refused to put forward anything but a "good deal" for the United States. "A bad deal is not an option," he said. "If the right deal is not on the table, we will respectfully walk away."