Keenly awaited Trump-Kim summit called off, but doors not shut

RSTV Bureau
Seoul: A TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 21, 2018. AP/PTI

Seoul: A TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 21, 2018.
AP/PTI

US President Donald Trump on Thursday called off a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un scheduled for next month citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility”. Trump wrote a letter to Kim to announce his abrupt withdrawal from what would have been a first-ever meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12.

“I was very much looking forward to being there with you. 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 said in his letter to Kim.

Trump also said it would be “inappropriate” to have the summit given his worries and warned that the U.S. military was ready in the event of any reckless acts by North Korea.

Trump’s announcement came hours after North Korea carried out what it said is the demolition of its nuclear test site on Thursday.

In April, Trump had stunned the world by accepting an invitation to meet Kim in an unprecedented sit-down. The two leaders had previously traded insults and threats.

Trump, however, kept the door open for future talks with Kim.

“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,” Trump said.

Earlier on Thursday, North Korea had repeated its threat to pull out of the summit and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.

However after the cancellation of talks, North Korea too said it was still willing to talk “at any time in any form”.

Vice-foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan said Trump’s decision was “extremely regrettable”.

“The abrupt announcement of the cancellation of the meeting is unexpected for us and we cannot but find it extremely regrettable,” he said in a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency.

“We again state to the US our willingness to sit face-to-face at any time in any form to resolve the problem,” Kim added.

(With inputs from Agencies)