“We have certain conditions. We’ll see what happens. But there’s a good chance,” he added of the meeting.
Mr. Trump writes in the letter that he 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.”
His comments appear to refer to insults from the North Koreans directed at Vice President Pence. North Korean Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui, quoted by the state-run news agency, said of Pence Thursday, “I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president.”
Pence, in his own interview on Fox News on Wednesday, had seemed to threaten the North. “You know, as the president made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal.”
Under the Libyan model, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi dismantled his nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The agreement was initially seen as a success for denuclearization, with Libya welcoming i”If ynternational inspectors to verify the dismantlement. But eight years later, Gaddafi was overthrown in a gruesome killing by Western-backed rebels.
Mr. Trump adds in his letter that he felt a “wonderful dialogue was building” between the two leaders. “Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you.” He did however, thank Kim for his role in the release of three American hostages, calling it a “beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.”
“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit,” he adds, “please do not hesitate to call me or write.”
Sen. Cory Gardner (R) Colorado (credit: CBS)
Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner reacted to the president’s decision Thursday morning stating:
President Trump has made the right decision to cancel the summit with Kim Jong Un until North Korea is ready to act in good faith to fully denuclearize. We must double down on our strategy of maximum pressure and engagement. It’s time to pass my bipartisan legislation, the LEED Act, because it will increase the pressure on Kim Jong Un by implementing a full economic embargo and targeting his regime’s enablers. Our goal of any discussions with North Korea should remain the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Gardner is the chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. He authored the North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in February of 2016.
Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman issued this statement:
I could care less about the rhetoric between North Korea and the United States. What is important is that North Korea has a different definition of what denuclearization means. For the North Koreans, it is suspending their nuclear weapons program and for the United States, its completely dismantling their program. Until the North Koreans can agree to completely dismantle their nuclear weapons program, we need to continue to ratchet up the economic sanctions until we can arrive at an agreement to bring peace to the Korean peninsula.