May 25, 2018

"Better to Cancel Than String This Along": How the Trump-Kim Bromance Died

Featuring ​Neil Bhatiya

Source: Vanity Fair

Journalist Abigail Tracy

In a remarkable scene Thursday morning, a haggard-looking Bob Corker opened Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s scheduled hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with an alarming message. “Because of developments that have occurred, we are going to go a little out of order if that is O.K. and let Secretary Pompeo read a letter.” Not 15 minutes earlier, the White House had released a formal message from Donald Trump to Kim Jong Un announcing that he had decided to cancel their upcoming June 12 summit in Singapore to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea. “I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote. “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.” It would have been an historic occasion, he noted wistfully, and perhaps they would come face-to-face another time. In the meantime, Trump reminded Kim, “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

Pompeo, who had flown to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks to defuse tensions between the two countries, spoke in a flat monotone as he read Trump’s words out loud, tripping over the word “inappropriate” and stopping to correct himself. North and South Korean officials, meanwhile, appear to have been blindsided. Journalists who had been invited to North Korea to witness the dismantling of a nuclear site reported that their handlers were shocked when they heard Trump’s letter. In South Korea, President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency midnight meeting with top security officials to discuss the abrupt decision. In a statement afterward, Moon vowed not to abandon efforts to bring Trump and Kim to the negotiating table, calling the efforts to secure a lasting peace “historic tasks that cannot be abandoned or delayed.”


Read the Full Article at Vanity Fair

  • ​Neil Bhatiya

    Research Associate, Energy, Economics, and Security Program

    Neil Bhatiya is the Research Associate for the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. His work focuses on the geopolitics of energy...