President Donald Trump has canceled his planned summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, citing the "tremendous anger and open hostility" in recent statements from Pyongyang.
The White House used Twitter to announce Trump's decision to call off the June 12 meeting, releasing his letter to Kim. The president wrote that he felt it was "inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."
North Korea hardened its rhetoric toward the U.S. earlier Thursday, warning it was ready for a "nuclear-to-nuclear" showdown if the U.S. didn’t follow through on the summit.
Trump wrote that while the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, "ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."
With the summit abandoned — at least temporarily — the next steps are unclear. Trump has said that if the June 12 meeting were to fall through, the U.S. would continue exerting maximum economic pressure on Kim and his regime.
The highly anticipated summit had been cast by the White House as an opportunity to stave off a military conflict with North Korea and showcase Trump’s ability to make progress where his predecessors had struggled.
But Trump ultimately ran into the same diplomatic quandary that has stumped U.S. presidents for a quarter century: the inability to persuade a stubborn regime to give up a nuclear program that it regards as key to its survival.
Trump agreed to meet Kim after the two leaders spent most of 2017 exchanging increasingly hostile and bellicose barbs. Seoul led the effort at detente with Pyongyang that led to the two countries competing together at the Winter Olympics.
This report contains material from Reuters, The Associated Press, and Bloomberg News.
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