U.S. President Donald Trump has cancelled a planned June 12 summit with North Korea's Leader Kim Jong Un, citing "tremendous anger and open hostility" in a recent statement, while also warning North Korea against any "foolish or reckless" move.
Trump says in a letter to Kim Jong Un released on May 24 by the White House that, based on the statement, he felt it was "inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."
The U.S. president said the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, "but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."
Trump appeared to leave the door open to a new meeting: "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."
Trump wrote that he "felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me."
"The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth," Trump said in the letter.
In a later statement at the White House, Trump said he had spoken to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and warned North Korea against any "reckless act," saying, "Our military is the most powerful in the world."
"Hopefully positive things will be taking place with respect to the future of North Korea," he said. "But if they don't, we are more ready than we have ever been before."
"In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign will continue," Trump added.
Earlier on May 24, North Korean official Choe Son-hui dismissed remarks by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence who had said North Korea "may end like Libya" as "stupid".
Choe, who has been involved in diplomatic interactions with the United States over the past decade, said his country would not "beg" for dialogue and warned of a "nuclear showdown" if diplomacy failed.
Trump's announcement came hours after North Korea said it has dismantled tunnels at its only nuclear test site, in a move witnessed by a group of foreign journalists.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea did not respond to repeated requests from U.S. officials to discuss logistics for the now-canceled summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 24 that the lack of response was an additional reason for Trump's decision to cancel the meeting.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply concerned" by the cancellation of the planned summit.
Guterres told an audience at the University of Geneva on May 24 that he was urging the parties to keep working "to find a path to the peaceful and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also expressed regret over Trump's decision to call off his Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un and urged the pair to hold direct talks, Seoul's presidential office said.
At an emergency national security meeting, Moon said it was "deeply regrettable that the U.S.-North Korea summit will not take place as scheduled."
"The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and permanent peace is a historic task that cannot be given up or delayed," Moon said, adding that it would be difficult to resolve thorny diplomatic issues through the current method of communication between the U.S. and North Korea.
"I hope that the leaders resolve the issue through more direct and close dialogue between themselves," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed regrets that Trump called off his summit plans with Kim Jong Un, but he said he hopes dialogue can be resumed and the summit can eventually take place.
"We had counted on it that a significant step towards a deescalation on the Korean peninsula would be taken and a start made on the denuclearization... We hope that a dialogue will be resumed, continued, and that the meeting will take place," Putin said at a May 24 joint press conference with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.