BREAKING NEWS : One man exonerated, a second charged with murder Full Story

Trump cancels Singapore summit in letter to Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump will not ...

Posted: May 24, 2018 5:05 PM
Updated: May 24, 2018 5:05 PM

President Donald Trump will not meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, he announced in a letter to Kim released by the White House Thursday morning, scrapping plans for what would have been a historic diplomatic summit.

He said during an appearance from the Roosevelt Room the decision amounted to a "tremendous setback" and warned North Korea that the US military is ready to act should Pyongyang take any "foolish and reckless" action.

"Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world that has been greatly enhanced recently as we all know, is ready as necessary," he said.

But he left open the door to renewing the diplomatic thaw which had preceded the anticipated talks.

"If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting," he said.

In his letter, which the administration said was dispatched through established communication channels to North Korea, Trump wrote with chagrin the summit was off.

"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 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."

Trump and Kim were scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12, for what would have been the first face-to-face meeting between a US and North Korean leader.

Months of diplomatic advances

The decision ends months of diplomatic advances between the US and North Korea that Trump repeatedly heralded as the likely precursor to a historic peace deal and the denuclearization of North Korea. Now, the d-tente between Washington and Pyongyang appears in jeopardy, with a return to the bellicose rhetoric that has defined the US-North Korea relationship for much of Trump's presidency once again peering over the horizon.

In his letter, Trump signaled a return to the bitter nuclear back-and-forth that colored his early interactions with Kim before the diplomatic opening.

"You talk about your nuclear capabilities," Trump wrote in his letter to Kim, "but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

Still, Trump signaled direct talks with Kim could still be in the offing, writing that he "felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me" and that he looks forward to meeting Kim "some day."

Even as the summit was canceled, North Korea was taking at least precursory steps to scale back its nuclear program. The regime appeared to destroy at least three nuclear tunnels, observation buildings, a metal foundry and living quarters at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site on Thursday, in a process observed by invited international journalists including CNN's Will Ripley.

No weapons inspectors or nonproliferation experts were invited to witness the event, and it was unclear whether the explosions rendered the tunnels inoperable, or only caused limited damage.

How it happened

Trump withdrew from the summit after a North Korean vice minister of foreign affairs slammed Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday as a "political dummy," the latest harshly worded statement from Pyongyang.

Trump and his aides were infuriated by the statement and wanted to respond forcefully, multiple people familiar with the situation told CNN. The specific and personal targeting of Pence is what irked US officials, three people familiar with the matter said.

The verbal broadside against Pence was just the latest harshly worded statement from North Korea over the last 10 days. Early last week, North Korea canceled a planned meeting with South Korea and threatened to pull out of the Singapore summit because of ongoing US-South Korean military exercises.

Trump and his aides had insisted over the past week that planning for the summit was still ongoing amid the increased bluster from Pyongyang. A logistics team was dispatched to Singapore to finalize details with North Korea officials. And a commemorative coin was stamped by military aides labeling Kim the "Supreme Leader."

Not entirely a surprise

Still, the collapse of the summit was not entirely a surprise, even if Thursday's announcement was abrupt. North Korea has offered diplomatic openings to the United States several times over the past decades, only to return to bellicose threats. Even after Trump accepted Kim's invitation to meet in March, most administration officials put the likelihood of the summit actually happening at less than 50% -- and administration officials grew increasingly skeptical over the last week.

US officials had also grown increasingly skeptical of Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearization. On Wednesday, CNN reported the Trump administration was looking to have additional high-level talks for assurances from Kim for complete denuclearization before the summit went ahead.

Hours later, a North Korean official lashed out at Pence and said Pyongyang is ready for a nuclear showdown if dialogue with the United States fails.

Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said if the US continued on its current path, she would suggest to North Korea's leadership that they reconsider the planned summit between Trump and Kim.

"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe said in comments carried by North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency Thursday.

Choe was responding to comments by Pence made Monday during a Fox News interview that she deemed "unbridled and impudent."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 152907

Reported Deaths: 4783
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27283615
Cuyahoga17603657
Hamilton13340321
Montgomery7993166
Lucas7377364
Butler6151112
Summit5393252
Warren313649
Mahoning3114282
Marion311447
Stark2946175
Pickaway268445
Lorain234286
Delaware232821
Fairfield214654
Licking196063
Columbiana195180
Wood194273
Trumbull1921132
Clark185341
Clermont176123
Lake166051
Greene153634
Medina149339
Miami147652
Allen147372
Portage117766
Mercer113919
Erie96047
Tuscarawas94320
Wayne94268
Richland94119
Ross90426
Madison85512
Darke81144
Athens7402
Geauga73349
Hancock73110
Belmont72427
Lawrence68622
Shelby66910
Ashtabula66248
Auglaize62511
Putnam62523
Sandusky58720
Huron5727
Union5512
Scioto5287
Seneca49514
Ottawa47230
Muskingum4553
Preble44716
Holmes3999
Jefferson3424
Henry33715
Defiance33212
Champaign3143
Logan3143
Clinton30512
Perry3039
Fulton2991
Brown2923
Knox28915
Jackson2667
Washington26323
Morrow2622
Hardin25713
Ashland2484
Crawford2486
Coshocton23511
Fayette2346
Highland2313
Williams2163
Wyandot21512
Pike2040
Gallia19713
Meigs17711
Guernsey1748
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1374
Van Wert1283
Paulding1130
Monroe11018
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton483
Noble350
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Angola
Few Clouds
46° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Huntington
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Decatur
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Van Wert
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
More Showers Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events