The U.S. military is “ready if necessary” to respond to “foolish or reckless acts” by North Korea, President Trump said Thursday while announcing his withdrawal from his June 12 meeting with Kim Jong-un.
The threat was issued hours after the White House released a letter Trump sent to Kim informing him that the widely anticipated Singapore summit would not take place because of the “open hostility” displayed in Pyongyang’s recent public pronouncements.
“Sadly based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, and at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim. “Therefore, please let this letter service to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. 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.”
Just hours after releasing the letter, Trump indicated that the June 12 meeting might still go ahead as planned.
“It’s possible the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date,” Trump said while announcing the summit cancelation from the White House. “No one should be anxious we have to get it right.”
The summit cancelation came after a North Korean official called Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” for suggesting that Kim might meet the fate of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi if he did not cooperate with U.S. demands.
The threat, initially made by hawkish national-security adviser John Bolton and later repeated by Trump himself, prompted an angry response from Pyongyang Thursday.
“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at a nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, told North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency in response to Pence’s statement.