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Trump cancels North Korea summit, blaming 'tremendous anger and open hostility'

Trump cancels North Korea summit, blaming 'tremendous anger and open hostility'
Posted at 9:50 AM, May 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-24 06:47:24-04

(RNN) - President Donald Trump cancelled a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore that was supposed to take place on June 12.

"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," according to a statement released by the White House on Thursday.

But Trump still offered a glimmer of hope for talks between the two countries.

"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 moment in history," the statement said.

The summit had been endangered recently because of rhetoric on both sides, with a top North Korean official calling Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy," the Associated Press reported.

Choe Son Hui, a vice minister of foreign affairs, slammed on Thursday comments Pence made as "ignorant" and "stupid" that compared the country to Libya in an interview with Fox News, the Associated Press reported.

The insult came on the heels of John Bolton, the new national security adviser, saying the two sides had grown further apart.

North Korea rebuked Bolton who said on that the U.S. was using the “Libya model” as it sought to denuclearize North Korea.

“We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004,” Bolton said on Fox News on April 29.

The North African nation voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003, but it was the result of pressure from the West.

The United States and Europe later helped topple the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by militarily backing rebel groups during the country’s civil war.

Libyans killed Gaddafi themselves amid the unrest. He was beaten to death while someone videotaped. 

The cancellation comes despite the groundwork done by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited North Korea on at least two known occasions to set the stage for the meeting.

Pompeo visited the country on May 8 and returned the following day with three American hostages held in the country. Trump greeted them with cameras rolling.

Trump agreed in March to meet with Kim to discuss denuclearization.

The administration announced the summit after a White House briefing by South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong that included an invitation from Kim.

“President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization,” Chung said outside the West Wing. "He (Kim) expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

The White House produced challenge coins for the now-cancelled summit, NPR reported. A few people said Trump should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Experts were critical of the summit, saying it gave North Korea what it wanted, legitimacy, without getting much in return.

Political science expert Robert E. Kelly, known as the BBC dad from when his children interrupted a videocast in 2017, said in a tweet, "The summit itself strikes me as a huge concession, & NK gave up nothing deep value to it, like some basic stockpile data, e.g."

The statement cancelling the meeting came hours after North Korea claimed to have dismantled its only known nuclear test site with many international reporters present.

The test site at Punggye-ri consisted of four main tunnels beneath mountains in the north-east part of the country. North Korea used the site for at least six of its nuclear tests.

International observers said decommissioning the site was an important gesture but would not affect North Korea’s existing arsenal of weapons.

The North has made rapid progress in its drive for nuclear arms in the last few years. The country has conducted six confirmed nuclear tests since 2006, half of them since 2016.

Last year the North conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. In November it tested a missile, the Hwasong-15, believed to be capable of hitting anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

The North still needs to perfect the process of producing nuclear warheads small enough to fit onto missiles.

In January, the then-CIA Director and now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, predicted it would take North Korea just "a handful of months" to achieve that and have the capability of striking the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

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