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Trump cancels summit with Kim scheduled for June 12 in Singapore

In a letter to North Korean leader, US president calls it "a missed opportunity" but still hopes to meet him some day

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US President Donald Trump (pictured) on Thursday called off a planned historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even after North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its nuclear test site.

Washington

US President Donald Trump on Thursday called off a planned historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even after North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its nuclear test site.

Referring to a scheduled June 12 meeting with Mr Kim in Singapore, Mr Trump said in a letter to the North Korean leader: "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

Mr Trump called it "a missed opportunity" and said he still hoped to meet Mr Kim some day. The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr Trump's cancellation of the summit.

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Singapore has expressed regrets that the scheduled summit will no longer take place on June 12. "Singapore hopes that the dialogue and efforts to find lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula will continue," said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his letter to Mr Kim, Mr Trump wrote: "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 that they will never have to be used," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, North Korea repeated a threat to pull out of the summit with Mr Trump next month and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.

North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons has been a source of tension on the Korean peninsula for decades, as well as antagonism with Washington. The rhetoric reached new heights under Mr Trump as he mocked Mr Kim as "little rocket man" and in an address at the United Nations threatened to "totally destroy"North Korea if necessary. Mr Kim had called Mr Trump mentally deranged and threatened to "tame" him with fire.

Mr Kim rarely leaves North Korea and his willingness to meet and Mr Trump's acceptance sparked hope but it had faded in recent days.

In a statement released by North Korean media, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui had called US Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy" for comparing North Korea - a "nuclear weapons state" - to Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi gave up his unfinished nuclear development programme, only to be later killed by Nato-backed fighters.

"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behaviour of the United States," Mr Choe said.

Cancellation of what would have been the first-ever summit between a serving US president and a North Korean leader denies Mr Trump what supporters hoped could have been the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency, and one worthy of a Nobel Prize.

"I felt a wonderful dialogue was building between you and me, and ultimately it is only that dialogue that matters," Mr Trump said in his letter to Mr Kim. "Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you."

He also thanked Mr Kim for the release of the US hostages "who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated."

Mr Trump added: "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. REUTERS, AFP

READ MORE: North Korea dismantles nuclear test site

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