Donald Trump Does A Backflip, Cancels Historic Summit With North Korea

He said North Korea's "open hostility" was to blame.

What you need to know
  • Donald Trump has canceled his historic meeting with Kim Jong-un
  • He cited the North's "open hostility" as the reason for the move
  • The meeting, scheduled for June 12, would have been the first time a sitting U.S. president met a North Korean leader

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. 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,” and warned that the U.S. military was ready in the event of any reckless acts by North Korea.

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.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote. “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.”

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

In a statement at the White House, Trump said he was still open to dialogue but had spoken to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and warned North Korea against any “reckless act.” He said the U.S. military was the most powerful in the word and was ready if necessary.

Trump said South Korea and Japan also were ready to shoulder much of the financial burden “if an unfortunate situation is forced upon us” by North Korea.

“While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world,” Trump said.

Asked if cancellation of the summit increased the risk of war, he replied: “We’ll see what happens.”

Trump Pulls Plug On Summit With North Korea

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called the move "extremely disappointing", calling on North Korea to demonstrate that its promise to denuclearise was "genuine and substantive".

"It is extremely disappointing the summit will not proceed at this stage," Bishop said in a statement provided to ten daily.

"It is incumbent on North Korea to demonstrate that its promise to 'denuclearise' are genuine and substantive.

"The US, Australia, and the international community, will continue to apply maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea until it makes concrete commitments to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation."

She also noted that Trump has invited Kim to demonstrate a commitment to holding the summit, putting pressure on the North Korean leader to extend an offering.