US blames ‘series of broken promises’ for N Korea summit collapse

Referring to the North Korean claims to have destroyed its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, he said the US certainly hopes that was the case, but it is not sure about it

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Washington: US President Donald Trump decided to break off a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un after Pyongyang broke a series of promises and cut off direct communication with the United States, a senior White House official said on Thursday.

A “trail of broken promises” by the North Koreans, including keeping a team of US officials waiting in Singapore for a preparatory meeting, left the US President Donald Trump with no choice to cancel his proposed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

It was on 8 March that a delegation visiting from South Korea came to the White House to deliver a message from Kim Jong Un to Trump. The message conveyed from Kim was that he was committed to denuclearisation. He also pledged to refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests and said he understood that routine joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States would continue, he said.

The official said the North Korean leader also expressed his desire to meet with Trump as soon as possible.

Since that day, when Trump accepted Kim’s invitation, the United States has made significant efforts to prepare for their meeting, and it has done so in good faith, said the official, who spoke with reporters on condition of anonymity.

The official also cited a statement from North Korea earlier on Thursday warning that it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington.

He said after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his second trip to Pyongyang, North Korea promised that the two sides would meet in Singapore to jointly work on logistical preparations for the summit.

Referring to the North Korean claims to have destroyed its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, he said the US certainly hopes that was the case, but it is not sure about it.

“What may be news to you is that Secretary Pompeo and the South Korean government were promised by the North Koreans that international experts and officials would be invited to witness and verify today’s demolition. But that promise was broken,” the official said.

He said the United States has over the past week made numerous attempts to communicate with the North Koreans, but they did not “respond”.

So this strange lack of judgment combined with the broken promises over the past weeks and North Korea suspension of direct communication with the United States suggests a profound lack of good faith, he asserted.

The move to cancel the summit apparently started Wednesday night after North Korea issued a strong statement slamming US Vice President Mike Pence.