By Sophia Stephens
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
On May 24, President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled the June 12 North Korea and United States summit in Singapore via a letter addressed to His Excellency Kim Jong Un, a move that has been largely condemned by the international community as a continuation of Trump’s bizarre approach to foreign policy.
In a letter that praised North Korea’s “time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties,” only to condemn the country’s “tremendous anger and open hostility,” Trump’s letter has been widely critiqued as a confusing, but threatening attempt at establishing the dominance of the United States over North Korea.
Trump’s writing alternated between polite nothings and blatherings of sound and fury throughout the letter, but made clear the prowess of the United States’ nuclear weapons. “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.”
In the wake of Trump’s cancellation, South Korean President Moon Jae-in informed reporters that he was “very perplexed by the situation,” and added that “it is very regrettable that the North Korea-U.S. summit will not be held on June 12,” according to Yonhap News Agency. A statement from South Korean presidential representative Kim Eui-kyeom directly hinted at international confusion in the wake of Trump’s cancellation. “We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means,” said Eui-kyeom.
The repercussions of this recent development has undeniably impacted Seattle residents with ties to the three countries involved.
“I definitely am disappointed because I think that a successful North Korea and United States summit would be crucial to ensuring peace in the Korean Peninsula, given that this conflict was never really one between North Korea and South Korea,” said Korean Seattle resident Nayon Park. “But some things that we can be hopeful about is that the Moon administration has shown its commitment to open dialogue and will continue to do so, and Kim Jong Un has also responded to this call to come out to the table, not to mention that he’s a pretty personable character who’s capable of a reasonable discourse.”
Tyler Chung, a Korean American Seattleite, had different sentiments. “Two seemingly unstable people who came into power by little talent of their own are playing games with what can potentially destabilize not only the region with the nuclear situation, but the rest of the globe now tying in the trade situation with China. There is no art in this deal, not even good old-fashioned horse trading. The leaders in the region need to get involved. How will we get anything done with these two in a bilateral agreement?”
However, as of May 27, Trump appeared to have taken back his cancellation — if not ignoring it outright — informing reporters that “we’re looking at June 12 in Singapore. That hasn’t changed,” in spite of him announcing so in the May 24 letter, according to CNN.
The announcement arrived shortly after South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s surprise meeting with His Excellency Kim Jong Un on May 27, sharing that “what is unclear to Chairman Kim Jong Un is not the will for denuclearization, but the concern that if [North Korea] denuclearizes, whether the U.S. can end hostile relations and guarantee the security of the (Kim) regime,” said Jae-in, according to CNN.
Axios reported that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced on June 4 that Trump’s June 12 meeting with Jong Un in Singapore will be at 9 a.m. local time. American viewers can tune in on June 11 at 9 p.m. EST.
Sanders acknowledged that the administration’s “policy hasn’t changed” in regards to Pyongyang, and did not use the term “maximum pressure” when referring to North Korea and U.S. relations, after Trump said last week that he wished to avoid it as both countries are “getting along now.”
The situation is still developing, with concerns from both sides on the over-accelerated approach to negotiations, and tentative hopes for peace.
Sophia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.