By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. President Donald Trump has cancelled a planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement.
Trump says in a letter to Kim Jong Un released on May 24 by the White House that, based on the statement, he felt it was “inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”
The U.S. president said the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, “but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
Trump appeared to leave the door open to a new meeting: “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”
Trump wrote that he “felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me.”
“The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth,” Trump said in the letter.
Earlier on May 24, North Korean official Choe Son-hui dismissed remarks by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence who had said North Korea “may end like Libya” as “stupid”.
Choe, who has been involved in diplomatic interactions with the United States over the past decade, said his country would not “beg” for dialogue and warned of a “nuclear showdown” if diplomacy failed.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea did not respond to repeated requests from U.S. officials to discuss logistics for the now-canceled summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 24 that the lack of response was an additional reason for Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting.
Test Site ‘Completely’ Dismantled
News of the cancellation came not long after North Korea appeared to have blown up tunnels at its only nuclear test site, in a move to reduce regional tension on the Korean Peninsula.
A group of foreign journalists said they witnessed a series of explosions at the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site in the northeast.
“There was a huge explosion, you could feel it. Dust came at you, the heat came at you. It was extremely loud,” said Sky News’s Tom Cheshire, who was among the journalists present.
North Korean state news agency KCNA said the nuclear test ground was “completely” dismantled “to ensure the transparency of discontinuance of nuclear test.”
Independent inspectors were not allowed to attend the dismantling of the site, where North Korea has conducted its six nuclear tests.
Scientists believe the site, which consists of tunnels dug beneath Mount Mantap, partially collapsed following the last nuclear test in September, rendering it unusable.
Earlier this year, Pyongyang offered to scrap the site as part of a diplomatic rapprochement with South Korea and the United States.