President Donald Trump announced in a letter Thursday morning that he will not meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore next month to discuss denuclearization.
In the letter sent to Kim and released publicly, Trump cited North Korea’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement, in which the senior envoy for U.S. affairs threatened a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” if the summit were cancelled and called Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy.”
“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote. “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.”
In the letter, which was stern, but at times friendly, Trump also thanked Kim for releasing three Americans who were hostages in North Korea, calling the move — which was meant to be a sign of good faith between the two leaders leading up to the summit — “a beautiful gesture” that was “very much appreciated.”
“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters,” he wrote. “Some day, I look very much forward to meeting with you.”
The cancellation follows the several days of speculation over whether the summit would actually take place after news broke that Kim had concerns about the meeting, despite demolishing its nuclear test sites in the presence of journalists on Thursday. Kim reportedly had logistical worries about the summit and was wary that leaving North Korea for Singapore for a extended period of time may make him vulnerable to a coup.
The regime was also concerned about comments that National Security Adviser John Bolton made to the media — and Pence doubled down on — claiming the U.S. may follow the “Libya model” of denuclearization. That comment reportedly cooled Kim’s interest in meeting with the U.S., likely because that deal ended with the country’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi being forced from power and killed.
Just last week, Pyongyang warned there may be repercussions if the U.S. and South Korea continued doing joint air force drills.
Read the full letter below:
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