Hours after North Korea dismantled its Punggye-ri nuclear test site (pictured) on Thursday as a goodwill gesture ahead of the landmark summit with the US in Singapore on June 12, President Donald Trump cancelled the talks.
In a letter released by the White House, Trump said the time is not appropriate for the important summit after North Korea expressed its anger and hostility towards the US by calling Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid”.
Pyongyang’s angry response came after Pence compared North Korea to Libya. He said North Korea could end up like Libya if it does not make a nuclear deal with Washington. US National Security Adviser John Bolton too compared North Korea to Libya where the regime collapsed and its leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed.
Trump still kept the door open for talks by inviting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to schedule a new meeting whenever he changes his mind.
In the letter, Trump said he was looking forward to meeting Kim in Singapore. He felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between the two. But the world, and North Korea in particular, missed a great opportunity for lasting peace and prosperity and it is a sad moment in history, Trump said.
Rumblings of discontent had started when North Korea objected to the launch of US-South Korea military drills called Max Thunder. It said such exercises are inappropriate when the Koreas are going to denuclearise the peninsula.
To provoke North Korea further, Trump said in the letter that America’s nuclear might is such that he always prays its nuclear weapons will never have to be used.