The surprise cancellation of the planned meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has raised fears in China of a military crisis on its doorstep, diplomatic observers say.
Trump described the cancellation of the summit as "a tremendous setback" for North Korea and warned that the USA military is ready to act should Pyongyang take any "foolish and reckless" action. "We'll see what happens". "It could even be the 12th".
The US summit cancellation blindsided treaty ally South Korea, which until now had brokered a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang, with President Moon Jae-in calling the move "shocking and very regrettable".
"I think the White House realized about a week ago that it was the victim of its own wishful thinking when it came to how the summit would unfold - in particular, its belief that North Korea was somehow veering from its longstanding demand that any concessions on its part be matched in a phased manner by those from the United States", he said. "We'd like to do it". He implicitly criticised Mr Trump's habit of negotiating via bombshell tweets and peremptory statements, saying that he hoped that in future America and the North would resolve their differences "through more direct and close dialogue between their leaders". "The North Koreans never showed up".
The letter kicked off a day of mixed messages by the president, who declared hours later that "I really believe Kim Jong Un wants to do what's right".
"The deal was not there - even in the concept, in the abstract sense", said Park, a professor emeritus of worldwide relations at the University of Georgia who has visited North Korea more than 50 times. In his letter, Trump responded in kind, referencing USA nuclear capabilities "so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used".
South Koreans' perception of North Korea, especially those in their 20s and 30s, has visibly softened after Kim Jong Un and Moon pledged no more war in their inter-Korean summit in April, according to several polls.
"As for the tremendous anger and open hostility referred to by President Trump, it is just a reaction to the unbridled remarks made by the US side which has long pressed the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] unilaterally to scrap its nuclear programme ahead of the DPRK-US summit", he said.
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U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday the much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he, Trump, canceled Thursday could still place as originally scheduled.
"Internally we have been quietly giving President Trump high marks for making a decision no other American president had the courage to pursue", Kim Kye-gwan said.
The question now is how Mr Trump's manoeuvring will be received.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican from SC, said he had spoken with Trump directly and insisted the president was still committed to the negotiations.
In an unusually quick reply, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said early Friday morning that his country is still willing to give the U.S. "It's what caused me to recommend to the president that I thought the time would, in fact, permit us to have a real opportunity to do something historic", Pompeo said.
Comments in North Korea's state media indicate Kim saw any meeting with Trump as an arms control negotiation between legitimate nuclear states, rather than a process to surrender his nukes.
Both Pence and Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton had raised the specter of Libyan leader Moamer Khadafi, who gave up atomic weapons only to die years later at the hands of US-backed rebels.
Change in overall tone notwithstanding, Kim didn't cave on Pyongyang's demand that Washington drop its insistence on unilateral denuclearization before it lifts Trump's policy of "maximum pressure".