Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

North Korea breakthrough "just delayed", says top USA commander in South Korea

North Korea breakthrough

"[We] are trying to figure out what President Trump's intention is and the exact meaning of it", presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said, according to Yonhap.

Some analysts anxious that canceling the summit could prompt a resumption in hostilities, including renewed shorter-range missile tests or stepped-up cyber attacks by Pyongyang and increased sanctions or deployment of new military assets by Washington.

President Donald Trump's last-minute move to pull out of a highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un further clouded the murky prospects of the global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang. A self-professed master negotiator, Trump could envision Nobel laurels in the offing of the unprecedented one-on-one meeting. Hours after North Korea dismantles its nuclear testing ground in front of foreign journalists, Trump announces he's pulling out of his summit with Kim, citing the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility".

The mix of flattery and regret signaled an apologetic tone that contrasted with the harsh rhetoric issued the day before against Vice President Mike Pence, which appeared to be the trigger for Trump's decision. It confirmed the mounting suspicions of the president's aides that North Korea was not serious about the talks. Before taking action, Trump made a decision to sleep on it.

North Korea hardened its rhetoric toward the US on Thursday, lashing out after remarks by Vice President Mike Pence and the White House national security adviser, John Bolton, that had linked the country with Libya.

He dictated a letter to Kim that at times felt like a wistful plea for what might have been. At the very least, he says, it appears that Kim, who'd been enjoying the worldwide spotlight all year, might have lost control of the narrative.

First, North Korea issued a statement saying it was still "willing to give the US time and opportunities" to reconsider talks "at any time, at any format".

Trump's approach might have caught Kim off guard, Bechtol believes. His supposed concessions soon appeared to ring hollow.

But their meeting was largely seen as a prelude to what would have been the first-ever U.S. -South Korean military exercises.

But then, it seems the author of "Trump: The Art of the Deal" called all of this back in 2014.

Still, the Trump administration tried to keep up a positive face, dismissing the shifts as an expected negotiating maneuver by Kim and stressing there had been no official notification from the North of any change to the meeting.

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In fact, they weren't hearing anything.

Senior White House officials who went to Singapore to meet their North Korean counterparts last week were stood up, officials said.

The U.S. may also have damaged relations with South Korea.

Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Trump's withdrawal "unexpected" and "very regrettable", and said the cancellation of the talks showed "how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-U.S. relations is and how urgently a summit should be realized to improve ties".

In his letter, Trump objected specifically to a statement from senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui, who referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy" for his earlier comments on North Korea and said it was up to the Americans whether they would "meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown".

In recent months, Trump had traded his bellicose threats of "fire and fury" for bouquets of flattery, calling Kim "very honorable" and exuding confidence that he could seal a deal that had eluded his predecessors for generations.

"Trump has no interest in peace in our country".

Trump scrapped the meeting on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out of the summit in Singapore over what it saw as confrontational remarks by US officials.

Trump aides had warned the president that agreeing to a sit-down with Kim was in itself a concession to the leader of an oppressive government that has longed for worldwide recognition. And likewise, they stressed to Trump that pulling out could undercut American assertions that it seeks a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis.

Still, Trump did not come away with nothing.

Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the summit's collapse added to uncertainty in U.S.

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