Trump made the right call to cancel the North Korea summit

  • Trump made the right call to cancel the North Korea summit

Trump made the right call to cancel the North Korea summit

It sounded off on the scheduled US-South Korean joint military exercises, and snapped at US national security adviser John Bolton over some worrisome remarks he made regarding the future of North Korea.

With a new exchange of super-charged rhetoric driving the United States and North Korea from the negotiating table, there is growing concern that words could be matched with action, including renewed shorter-range missile tests or stepped-up cyber attacks by Pyongyang and increased sanctions or deployment of new military assets by Washington, analysts said.

After inflating a bubble of expectation for a historic summit with North Korea, President Donald Trump popped it.

"I think, by and large, the president's message was polite, although his reference to the US nuclear arsenal looked a little threatening to me", said Christopher Hill, the lead USA negotiator with North Korea under the George W. Bush administration.

Meanwhile, the senior White House official defended Trump's decision and said it was due to a "trail of broken promises" from North Korea that Trump chose to scrap the meeting. Although the chances of success were uncertain, the White House had even unveiled a commemorative coin with the profiles of Trump and Kim to herald the "peace talks".

Some other analysts took a more cautious view.

"It's only recently that this has been taking place and I think I understand why it's been taking place", he said.

North Korea's absence at the planned meeting reportedly raised alarms at the White House, which coincided with the timing of North Korea's change in posture last week. But tensions eased in recent months, only to reignite in the past week.

He said USA allies South Korea and Japan also were ready to shoulder much of the financial burden "if an unfortunate situation is forced upon us" by North Korea. Most remain more sceptical than ever about Kim's willingness to give up his nuclear arsenal and believe Trump was naive to believe that he would.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - who twice travelled to Pyongyang to lay the groundwork for the summit - said it was scrapped because a "successful outcome" did not seem possible. But he gave no indication Pyongyang was willing to bargain away its nuclear programme.

South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, helped broker the planned meeting between Kim and Trump.

In the North Korean statement that Mr Trump citied, Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui had called US Vice-President Mike Pence a "political dummy" for comparing North Korea - a "nuclear weapons state" - to Libya. That included the North Koreans not showing up to a planned meeting in Singapore last week.

"We expect that there will be some type of cyber-retaliation, most likely denial-of-service or other disruptive attacks against USA government departments or military networks, defence contractors, and large American multinationals", said Priscilla Moriuchi, former head of the National Security Agency's East Asia and Pacific cyber threats office.

"That would restrain him for a while", said Bader. "Over the longer term, sure, he'll go back to provocations, I don't doubt that".

Trump appears to suspect that Xi had something to do with North Korea's taking a harder line against abandoning its nuclear weapons in recent days. That could also mean increased efforts to intercept ships suspected of violating worldwide sanctions.

USA gold futures GCcv1 for June delivery eased 0.2 percent to $1,301.90 per ounce. -South Korean military drills.

This week Trump noted that North Korea had changed its tone toward the United States after a surprise meeting between Kim and Xi in the Chinese port city of Dalian two weeks ago.