By Prarthana Mitra
Calling it a missed opportunity to effectively establish lasting world peace, US president Donald Trump pulled out of the much-anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un, scheduled to be held on June 12 in Singapore.
In a letter dated Thursday from the White House, Trump notified the North Korean leader his decision to cancel the meeting due to the “tremendous anger and open hostility” shown by the latter over the last few weeks, given which this seems like an inappropriate time for the summit.
Here’s what happened
In all probability, Trump was referring to Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui’s remarks to the North Korean press, calling Mike Pence “stupid”, “ignorant”, “unbridled and impudent.” Choe also called the U.S. Vice President a “political dummy” for saying that North Korea is likely to meet the same fate as Libya in an interview to Fox News on Monday.
Trump’s announcement came just hours after North Korea’s followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, in the presence of an elect group of international media.
Pyongyang called it a proof of their commitment to end nuclear testing but according to rumours, the site has been obsolete for long anyway. Additionally, North Korea threatened yet again to pull out of the summit earlier on Thursday, and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.
Back to the start?
The decision to scrap the meeting against such a volatile backdrop not only brings diplomacy in total disarray but marks the latest turn in the relationship between the two leaders. Although Trump and Kim threatened to launch nukes against each other last year, the past couple of months seemed to bring them closer, setting the stage for the grand summit.
“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters,” Trump wrote to Kim on Thursday. “Someday, I look very much forward to meeting you.”
However, expecting Korea to follow through with absolute denuclearisation continues to be an elusive and ambitious project. Thanking Kim for the release of the US hostages, Trump signed off wistfully, “The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth.”
Both Choe in her latest statement to the press, and Trump in his note to Kim, warn of a “nuclear showdown” if diplomacy fails. With the summit out of the way, the cancellation begs the question if diplomatic relations between these two nations are now on retrograde.
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