President Trump Cancels North Korea Summit
Less than a month before the historic meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US has decided to pull out of the engagement.
President Trump announced the news on Thursday, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” by North Korean officials. Trump officially announced the withdrawal in a letter.
The anger and hostility likely references a comment made by a North Korean official when they called Vice President Pence “ignorant and stupid.” However, it could have come from any of the communications between both sides.
The summit, scheduled to happen in Singapore on June 12, would have been a major step forward in normalizing relations between the US and North Korea. The focus of the summit was denuclearization, something that both sides did not see eye to eye on.
Over the past few weeks, tensions around the summit had been rising. It was becoming clear that the US and North Korea had very different opinions on what denuclearization entailed. Also, comments saying the North Korea model for denuclearization could follow the “Libya Model” sparked anger from North Koreans.
The Libya Model refers to the process of taking Muammar Gaddafi out of power. North Koreans have been quick to note that the Libya Model ended with Gaddafi’s death.
North Korea had also expressed anger with the annual US-South Korea drill.
Joint US-South Korea drills continue
Since 2009, the US has conducted joint drills with South Korea each spring. The drills, called “Max Thunder,” are a multi-week military exercise in South Korea. Each year, North Korea has threatened violence if the drills did not stop.
The cancellation of upcoming summit puts South Korea in a difficult position. They recently had success with North Korea when Kim Jong Un came and visited. The two sides talked about peace and eventually restoring the identity of a single Korea.
Seoul has already stated that talks between North and South Korea are currently on hold, but they will resume this weekend after Max Thunder concludes.
Prior to Max Thunder beginning, North Korea and South Korea were planning on another meeting on May 16. However, North Korea pulled out of the meeting after Max Thunder began. From that point, the possibility of the Singapore Summit on June 12 happening started to seem unlikely.
North Korea, which has long regarded Max Thunder as practice for an invasion, does have reason to be concerned. Technically, North and South Korea are still at war, and they have been since the 1950’s. It’s been easy to forget that, though, since North Korea has been slowly leaning toward peace.
While talks with North Korea have been becoming peaceful, President Trump did let it be known that the military was ready to strike at any moment if they needed.
North Korea nuclear site destroyed
Perhaps coincidentally, North Korea announced that its nuclear test site had been destroyed. The announcement came just a few hours before President Trump withdrew from their meeting.
It has been long speculated that North Korea’s test site, located under a mountain, was destroyed in their most recent nuclear test. While North Korea at first refused to admit it, they have now come out with the truth.
Denuclearization of North and South Korea has been a big issue of late, and it was set to be the focus of talks between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. There is a chance that the revelation of the North’s destroyed facility allowed the US double down on their demands.
President Trump has been seen as a tough negotiator with other world leaders, so while he had alluded to the possibility of warfare, the US could just be trying to strengthen their case against North Korea. Total denuclearization is the goal for the US.
News is developing constantly with North Korea, and while the possibility of military action doesn’t seem likely at this time, anything can change if the two leaders decide so.