Friday 25 May 2018

Trump cancels June summit with Kim Jong-un

Trump cancels June summit with Kim, says 'You talk about nukes, but ours are massive'
24 May, 2018

US President Donald Trump has canceled a much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility” from Kim, who threatened the US with a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

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,” read the letter, sent a few hours after North Korea blew up its nuke testing site at Punggye-ri. The demolition was witnessed by a small pool of foreign journalists, and was considered a goodwill gesture from Kim ahead of the planned summit.

In his letter, Trump lamented the loss of a historic opportunity, but thanked Kim for releasing three American hostages, which he said was a “beautiful gesture.”
North Korean Vice Minister Choe Son-hui said earlier on Thursday that his country would walk away from the summit, which had been due to take place in Singapore on June 12, if Washington continued to carry out its "unlawful and outrageous acts."

"Whether the U.S. 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.

The "unlawful acts" mentioned by Choe refer to joint military exercises carried out by the US and South Korea earlier this month. The North viewed these annual drills as intentional provocation and practice for an invasion.

Choe also singled out Vice President Mike Pence, who said earlier this week that North Korea could end up like Libya if Kim didn’t make a deal. The Libya comparison had been first made by Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who suggested that the denuclearization of North Korea could follow “the Libya model.”

After surrendering his weapons in 2003, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and executed in a NATO-backed coup in 2011.

Following these statements, North Korea canceled talks with the South early in May, yet not the Singapore meeting with Trump. Since then the fate of the summit had been discussed almost daily in the media, with the US president being vague about its prospects. 

Now Trump, who used to call Kim 'little rocket man,' and the North Korean leader seem to be back to threats.

You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump said in the letter.
Finally, Trump suggested that maybe one day, the two leaders could be friends.
If you change your mind... please do not hesitate to call me or write,” the letter reads.


24 May, 2018

President Donald Trump has CANCELED his scheduled meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

The president said "There was 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in yesterday's statement from North Korea."

President Trump's Letter Cancelling Summit (Updates appear below this letter) 


Hal Turner Commentary 

Uhhhhhhhh, sir . . . .  they are an avowed enemy.  We ought to expect tough rhetoric.  This cancellation was a tactical blunder on OUR part.
I urge you to reconsider and re-establish the meeting.  Too much is at stake for us to jerk around with niceties.

UPDATE 11:23 AM EDT --

National Security Adviser John Bolton: "I think the only diplomatic option left is to end the regime in North Korea by effectively having the South take it over"

UPDATE 11:27 AM EDT --

"We can also make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now." -NK VICE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

UPDATE 11:29 AM EDT --

"If they don't meet June 12th, that's probably the end of diplomacy. Plan B would be military operations to stop the threat that North Korea presents." - Senator Lindsey Graham
INTEL: Pentagon source. The US military think that Kim may well respond very quickly with kinetic actions.  There is likely to be an immediate raising of defense posture for US forces in the Korean theater.

UPDATE 11:35 AM EDT --

America had repeatedly tried in recent days to connect with North Korea over logistics for the summit but got no response.
- Pompeo

UPDATE 11:42 AM EDT --


Trump Warns US Military "Ready" If North Korea Takes "Foolish Action"

24 May, 2018

When the carrot fails, the stick comes out.

Just a few hours after Donald Trump unexpectedly cancelled the planned June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un, which he called "a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world", the president said the U.S. military is ready if necessary in the event of a conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Speaking at the White House not long after releasing the "Dear John" letter to Kim, Trump said he had conferred with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (who continues to warn anyone who is listening of imminent war), the leaders of South Korea and Japan, and said that the U.S. military is "ready if necessary" and the two Asian allies "are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden" of a conflict.

Trump's not so veiled threat came just hours after North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs, Choe Son Hui said that if the June 12 talks were called off, the U.S. could instead face off with North Korea in a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown" threatening to "make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now" and called VP Mike Pence a "political dummy" for threatening to use the "Libya Model" (which ended not so well for Muammar Gadaffi) if North Korea does not denuclearize.
Trump also left the door slightly open for a last minute reconciliation, noting that the June 12 summit in Singapore could get back on track, or that he and Kim could meet in the future. However, as Bloomberg reports, the probability of that is virtually nil: 
A senior administration official later downplayed the idea that the meeting could be put back on track for June 12. The North Koreans, the official said, have recently stopped cooperating on preparations for the summit. For example, U.S. officials traveled to Singapore last week expecting to meet with North Korean counterparts, but the North Koreans never showed up.
They stood us up,” the official said at a briefing for reporters conducted on condition of anonymity.

Trump's unexpected reversal led to much confusion in the South Korean administration of President Moon Jae-In, who said that peace on the peninsula shouldn’t be abandoned and suggested that Trump and Kim hurt chances for a successful summit by speaking to each other through statements, tweets and spokespeople.

It’s hard to resolve the diplomatic issue, which is both difficult and sensitive, with current way of communication,” Moon said in a statement. “I wish the leaders would have a more direct and closer conversation to deal with it.

While Trump took a conciliatory tone toward South Korea, he mentioned what some saw as a hint that the talks had fallen apart due to recent Chinese intervention.  Trump said that the dialogue with Kim "was good until recently” and that "Kim Jong Un wants to do what’s right" but, he added, "It’s only recently that this has been taking place and I think I understand why it’s been taking place," he said cryptically, declining to explain further. But, as Bloomberg points out, Trump said earlier this week that planning for the summit had been proceeding well until Kim met May 8 with his closest ally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is negotiating a trade dispute with Trump.

* * *
With the meeting now indefinitely abandoned,  the next steps are unclear. Trump has said the U.S. would continue exerting maximum economic pressure on Kim and his regime, potentially involving the US millitary as was the case for much of 2017. A senior administration official told Bloomberg that the U.S. is still short of maximum pressure on Kim, suggesting the possibility of further sanctions or other actions.

It is also unclear what North Korea's official response, which is due any moment, will be: the timing of Trump’s letter will certainly be an embarrassment to Kim Jong Un, who made a deliberate show of demolishing its main nuclear-weapons test site before a select group of foreign journalists just hours before Trump sent the letter. The exercise was portrayed as the destruction of tunnels used for all six of North Korea’s nuclear tests, but there was no independent verification that the site was disabled, and furthermore many had said that the site had already collapsed on its own due to structural instability.

We can expect North Korea will condemn the decision in strong terms and cast blame on the United States for throwing away a good thing through its actions,” said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. State Department official who worked on North Korean issues. “That does raise concerns that Trump will respond in a way that further escalates tension to ‘fire and fury’ levels and beyond.”

What is clear, is that Russian president Putin made it obvious he was on Kim's side, saying he was disappointed the planned summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un was cancelled and said North Korea was not to blame.

In Russia, we took this news with regret,” Putin said at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Associated Press reported. “We had very much counted on it being a significant step in sorting out the situation on the Korean Peninsula and that it would be the beginning of the process of denuclearizing the whole Korean Peninsula."

Putin also said Kim “did everything he promised in advance,” citing North Korea’s claim that it had destroyed its nuclear testing site.

And so the ball is now in North Korea's court which, according to most pundits, will respond by blaming Trump, unleashing another round of escalating tit-for-tat jawboning. The only question is whether it will once again culminate with an ICBM being fired by North Korea, and whether the "decapitation" strike which the White House had planned over a year ago, will follow.

Israeli media

Trump cancels summit with NKorean leader, places US armed forces on the ready

24 May, 2018

The White House letter to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on Thursday, May 24, regretted a “missed opportunity and a truly sad moment in history.” President Donald Trump called off his meeting with the North Korean leader scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, after Pyongyang insulted Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy’ and issued threats, including, “We are just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table.” Trump replied that “the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel is inappropriate at this time to have this long-planned meeting.”

At the same time, Trump did not entirely close the door on future talks for a summit, provided the North Korean leader changes his tone on US administration leaders. DEBKAfile’s sources report that the removal of the North Korean nuclear issue from Washington’s immediate agenda leaves the administration free to focus on the Iranian nuclear problem.

President Trump announced later that after terminating plans for a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he spoke with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the armed forces chiefs to make sure they are ready in the event of “reckless actions by North Korea” for US operations, “should a confrontation is forced on us.” Trump said he had also conferred with South Korea and Japan about sharing the financial burden of such operations. “I still hope that Kim will do the right thing for himself and his people who suffer needlessly,” the president said. “If he chooses constructive dialogue, I am waiting. Meanwhile tough sanctions and maximum pressure will stay in place. The US will not compromise the safety and security of the USA. Our military has been greatly enhanced as never before. If it all works out well with North Korea, the summit will take place [as planned] or at a later date.”

Pence had confirmed a suggestion made by national security adviser John Bolton that the nuclear deal with North Korea could follow the model of the agreement with Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi to dismantle his nuclear program and remove it from the country. Eight years later, Qaddafi was deposed and murdered. This week, to allay North Korean’s mistrust of US intentions, President Trump declared that he would guarantee Kim’s safety as part of any nuclear deal.

North Korea appears meanwhile to have blown up tunnels at its only nuclear test site, Punggye-ri in the north-east, causing a big blast. Pyongyang later said the site had been dismantled. American and Japanese experts said this was an empty gesture since they believed the tunnels had partially collapsed after the last test in September 2017, rendering it unusable. Independent inspectors were furthermore not allowed to witness the dismantling, raising concerns that it could be reversible.

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