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Trump cancels summit with North Korea

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Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Trump cancels summit with North Korea
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President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday.

"I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "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."

"You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added.

He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind.

Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing.

In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea."

He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue."

However, he also said that a new summit could be organised.

"Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said.

Why the meeting was cancelled

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics.

"We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said.

He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team."

The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News.

Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya.

"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 warned on the state-run KCNA network.

Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries.

In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.