It was supposed to be a historic meeting of minds that would, hopefully, lead to more peaceful relations between the US and North Korea in the future.
But in the end, Donald Trump got cold feet about meeting Kim Jong-un in Singapore, blaming the North Korean leader’s ‘open hostility’ for the severing of ties.
North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Kim Kye-gwan, responded by saying that the US president’s decision was ‘extremely regrettable’ and ‘we are willing to talk at any time’.
Trump outlined his cancellation in a letter, which appears to have been written by the man himself – amazingly not in Crayola – or at least dictated directly to an assistant.
The bizarre, passive-aggressive language used is well worth a read, with the bouffanted leader of the free world appearing to veer from the romantic to the bombastic within the space of a few hundred words.
Here is that poison pen letter in full, which was personally addressed to Jong-un’s headquarters in Pyongyang:
“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 in Singapore on July 12.”
So far, so neutral, balanced and fair from Trump and co.
“We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but to us that is totally irrelevant.”
Ah, spoke too soon….
“I was very much looking to be 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.”
From dignified to ‘my dad’s harder than your dad’ in the space of a paragraph. That’s peak Trump.
“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately it is only that dialogue that matters. Someday, I look very much to meeting you.”
This is beginning to sound like they’ve met on an online dating site….</em
“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 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 truly a sad moment in history.
Hugs and kisses, Donny
Okay, so we may have made that last part up….
So What Happens Next?
Despite Trump’s protestations, it would appear as if Jong-un has made good on his promise to clean up his act.
The US has accused North Korea of a ‘profound lack of good faith’, referring to a proposed meeting between a White House chief of staff and North Korean diplomats in Singapore. It is believed that the Korean representatives simply did not turn up.
The war of words escalated when the US vice president, Mike Pence – a man even more capable of verbal diarrhoea than Trump himself, believe it or not – said that North Korea ‘may end up like Libya’, the African nation when nuclear fanatic Colonel Gaddaffi was eventually overthrown by militant opposition.
But one of Jong-un’s chief aides, Choe Son-hui, said the accusation was ‘stupid’ and that her country was prepared for a ‘nuclear showdown’ if relations continued to sour.
At least Jong-un has offered an olive branch by destroying tunnels which led to a nuclear testing site in the country.
Reporters at the Punggye-ri facility, including Sky News’ Tom Cheshire, described witnessing a huge explosion as the site was destroyed.
“We hiked up into the mountains and watched the detonation from about 500 metres away,” Cheshire said. “They counted it down: three, two, one. There was a huge explosion, you could feel it. Dust came at you, the heat came at you. It was extremely loud.”
Many felt this was an attempt at building bridges with the US as they demanded the destruction of the nuclear facility, although scientists have revealed that they believe the tunnels had already been destroyed after a test back in 2017.
Independent inspectors were also told they could not witness the demolition close up, and the concern is that the damage caused in the explosion could well be reversible.
Grab the popcorn, folks, as Trump vs Jong-un could be set to roll on for a while longer yet.