In a letter released on Thursday morning, President Trump declared that the scheduled 12 June summit meeting in Singapore between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – a meeting that would have been the first of its kind – would no longer take place.
Trump justified his decision based on the “tremendous anger and open hostility” shown in a statement released by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency this week.
Choe Son-hui, a vice minister at North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called US Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” for repeating remarks Trump made a week earlier, threatening to attack Kim Jong-un if he didn’t submit to a deal on the United States’ terms at the meeting.
The story of the summit’s collapse, however, ultimately began with Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who had worked to raise expectations for what concessions the US should expect from North Korea to stratospheric levels.
Mr Bolton had built a maximalist “denuclearization” objective, seeking a deal at the Singapore meeting that would see North Korea turn over all its weapons of mass destruction – not only its nuclear weapons, but also its chemical and biological weapons.
But Mr Bolton was probably never sincerely interested in seeing a diplomatic process with North Korea succeed.
Weeks before becoming President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, as a then-private citizen, said in the aftermath of the president’s acceptance of Kim John-un’s invitation to meet that the goal of the process would be to “foreshorten the amount of time that we’re going to waste in negotiations that will never produce the result we want”. [Continue reading…]