REPORT: Donald Trump Canceled Summit With Kim Jong Un Because He Feared North Korea Would Do So First

On Thursday, President Donald Trump’s letter to North Korea Premiere Kim Jong Un abruptly canceling the much-anticipated summit between the two leaders came as a surprise to international allies and the American public. But the president, fearing that the North Koreans might beat him to the punch, wanted to be the one to cancel first, multiple officials told NBC News.

Trump’s decision blindsided his closest insiders. “There was no hint of this yesterday,” one official familiar with the summit preparations said. The stakes were “high risk, high reward.”

White House officials said talk of abandoning the summit began late Wednesday and included the president, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The decision was based, in part, on inflammatory rhetoric being lobbed back and forth between North Korea and the United States. On Wednesday, Kim warned of “nuclear showdown” with the United States.

More than 20 foreign journalists, including some Americans, remain in North Korea.

“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 behavior of the United States,” said Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry. This was in response to comments made by Pence on Monday when he told Fox News that Choe appeared “unbridled and impudent.”
Adding to this, Pence also alluded to what happened to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 after U.S. forces deposed him. He was subsequently tortured and dragged through the streets before being killed. “There was some talk about the Libya model,” Pence told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum. “As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”
Choe responded by calling Pence a “political dummy” for pushing “most explicit regime change threat yet,” as characterized by Adam Mount, the director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists.
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