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.”
Vice President Mike Pence is on his way to Capitol Hill.
Mr Pence is set to attend the Senate policy lunch and is expected to brief senators on the North Korea summit, among other issues.
The US military has said that it had not increased the already high-level of vigilance or changed its posture on North Korea after President Donald Trump called off a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“There is a high state of vigilance – the state of vigilance that we always have because they have proven to be unpredictable in the past,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, joint staff director, said at a Pentagon briefing referring to North Korea.
“But it is not a heightened state of vigilance. It is the normal state of vigilance that we maintain.”
In a contest of who can be the most erratic leader, President Trump beats Kim Jong Un hands-down. His unsteady hand has left everyone scratching their heads, including our ROK allies. No one knows where this is going to lead, but it will not be good for the United States.
— Joel Wit (@Joel_Wit38) May 24, 2018
Via Reuters, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has expressed deep regret about the US decision to cancel the meeting. Notably, it appears the South Korean leader either does not share, or does not understand, the US’s reasoning.
“I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the North Korea-US summit will not be held on June 12 when it was scheduled to be held,” Mr Moon was quoted as saying at a meeting with his top security officials.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in has issued a statement urging the North Korea-US summit to continue
Mr Trump concluded his comments in the White House about North Korea by saying this: “Hopefully everything is going to work out well with North Korea. A lot of things can happen. Including the fact that, perhaps, it’s possible the existing summit could take place or a summit at some later date.”
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in expresses “deep regret” over the cancelled summit, according to Yonhap.
She added: “Clearly what we all want is deescalation. We need both sides to put away their differences and put decades of mistrust aside.”
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, is quoted by the news agency Interfax as saying: “The rejection by Trump of conducting the American-North Korean summit undoubtedly is a serious blow to peaceful settlement in the region.”
He adds that “it’s already the second blow, after the exit from the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, to global stability in general.”
He continued: “North Korea has the opportunity to end decades of poverty and oppression by following the path of denuclearisation and joining the community of nations, and I hope that Kim Jong Un will ultimately do what is right not only for himself but perhaps, most importantly, what’s right for his people who are suffering greatly and needlessly.”
“Our military is ready if necessary… I have also spoken to Japan and South Korea and they are ready should foolish action be taken by North Korea.”
“As you know our military has recently been greatly enhanced…..Hopefully everything will work out well with North Korea.”
Donald Trump, speaking in the White House, is now raising the prospect of conflict. Says South Korea and Japan are willing to share the financial burden of any US military operation.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a statement expressing regret that the summit has been cancelled. “We are disappointed that President Trump’s talks with Kim Jong Un on 12 June will no longer go ahead as planned,” she said in a statement.
“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.