Well, the world had high hopes but the Korea problem once again proved to be too difficult to solve… so far.
Fortunately, in canceling the planned summit with North Korea, President Trump did leave the door open to reentering negotiations as soon as the North was ready to take such an effort seriously. Sadly, it seems that the South Korean leaders may have overstated just how willing Kim Jong Un was to play ball.
The meeting, which would have marked the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, was set for June 12 in Singapore.
“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,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim, which was released Thursday morning…
There were no immediate details about how the administration would continue to pursue diplomacy with North Korea, which is the only nation to conduct nuclear-weapons tests this century. Yet Trump left the door open for arranging a new meeting with Kim.
“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write,” the president wrote. “This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.”
Many conservatives praised the President for being willing to cancel the summit, given the historic opportunity it presents. Other leaders may have been fooled into believing that they could convince the North Koreans to stop being crazy, but the truth is that the hermit nation cannot be counted on to act in a rational and humane manner.
Kim Jun Un, in the words of a wise man “Congratulations, you just played yourself”. Withdrawing from talks with #NKorea is 100% the right decision. #KJU doesn’t want a deal. He has deliberately sabotaged the talks over the last two weeks & was setting us up to take the blame.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 24, 2018
David French at the National Review also praised the President’s decision and explained why the summit would have been a no-win situation for the USA and the world.
There are no good options for dealing with the North Korean threat, and talks hold obvious appeal. Every president tends to believe he can succeed where others failed. Every president can easily critique the paths taken by his predecessors. But every president also eventually faces the fundamental reality of the Korean Peninsula: Our foe is heavily armed, obsessed with its own superiority, and consumed not just by a survival instinct but also by the will ultimately to win, to rule both North and South Korea.
Until the facts on the ground are fundamentally different, no meeting will change the Kim regime’s nature. No president can alter its character. Trump was right to cancel the summit. Now it’s time to hold firm. Mr. President, don’t reschedule. If you do, failure will almost certainly be in your future.
Here’s a copy of the letter the President delivered to the North Koreans announcing his decision to withdraw from the summit.
The full text of the letter:
May 24, 2018
Kim Jong Un
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democractic People’s Republic of Korea
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I 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. Therefore, please let this letter serve 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.
I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.
If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.
Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
President Trump seemed frustrated by the outcome, but not pessimistic about what comes next.
I’d like to begin by saying that based on the recent statement by North Korea I have decided to terminate the planned summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea, and indeed a setback for the world.
I have spoken to General Mattis and the Joints Chiefs of Staff and our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world, that has been greatly enhanced recently, as you all know, is ready, if necessary.
Fox News discussed what comes next on Neil Cavuto’s show:
And then they wondered if the negotiation process could be reengaged at some point in the near future, and what that might take.