President Donald Trump's cancellation of the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly caught South Korea's president by surprise, and he's called an emergency meeting at midnight, local time.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in deliver a joint statement from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2017.
Two other explosions, at around 2:20 p.m. and 4 p.m., collapsed the west and south tunnels, according to officials. "We have to get it right", Trump later added.
Speaking from the White House, President Trump called the summit's cancellation a "tremendous setback" for the North Koreans and the world alike.
It's also unclear whether State Department officials were aware of Trump's decision before he released the letter. In a statement earlier Thursday, South Korea's National Security Council called the closing the North's "first measure toward complete denuclearization". Trump also announced that South Korea and Japan were onboard and ready to shoulder some of the cost of military operations, should the need arise. He said it was "to the detriment of the world" that the summit would not take place.
"I was very much looking forward to being there with you", Trump wrote in a letter to Kim on Thursday that toggled between amicable and menacing.
On a call with reporters, a senior White House official asserted that Trump "had constant communication with our allies", but did not explain why US allies were caught off guard.
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Trump sounded a positive note as he left a bill signing event, telling reporters "the dialogue was good until recently" with Kim.
Now has come the news that a lot of us were expecting-but it is one thing to have a general notion, and another to see a headline in black-and-white on the front page of the New York Times titled "Trump pulls out of June summit meeting with North Korea".
Into this swirl, Bolton casually tossed a diplomatic grenade, telling a television interviewer that the USA would use the "Libyan model" to approach North Korean disarmament. In 2003, the George W. Bush administration persuaded Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi to give up its small nuclear program. Rebel forces captured and brutally killed Gaddafi during the conflict. Some of the report's key takeaways: North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons has been deliberate, determined, and patient; USA diplomacy since 2000 has been sporadic, reactive, and often motivated by a desire to avoid instead of manage risk; no one has agreed on what exactly "denuclearization" means; North Korea has NOT "cheated on every agreement;" and as bad as things were in 2017, the situation could get worse. Pyongyang's concrete actions-destroying its nuclear test site and putting a moratorium on testing ICBMs and nuclear weapons-were major concessions to Washington, and Trump has given up little or nothing so far, by comparison. The group of journalists who witnessed the demolition, which touched off landslides near the tunnel entrances and sent up clouds of smoke and dust, included an Associated Press Television crew.
Thursday's explosions at the nuclear test site deep in the mountains of the North's sparsely populated northeast were centred on three tunnels at the underground site and a number of buildings in the surrounding area. Bolton unnerved Pyongyang late last month when he spoke of imposing elaborate, up-front restrictions on the North akin to the Libya model and is already being blasted as the saboteur of the summit.
But he teased the summit's uncertain fate.
"We're moving along. We'll see what happens".
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in Washington on Wednesday, had earlier urged the USA to attend the summit, saying "if you want peace, now is the time" at a joint press conference with Pompeo.