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‘Trump formula’? North Korea says still open to talks after summit cancelled (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper II; IOBR)

Response of US
Trump wrote a letter to Kim to announce his withdrawal from what would have been the first-ever meeting between a serving US president and a North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote.

Response of North Korea
North Korea responded with measured tones to US President Donald Trump’s decision to call off a historic summit with leader Kim Jong Un scheduled for next month, saying Pyongyang hoped for a “Trump formula” to resolve the standoff over its nuclear weapons programme.

Libya model or not?
North Korea has sharply criticised suggestions by Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence that it could share the fate of Libya if it did not swiftly surrender its nuclear arsenal. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and murdered by NATO-backed militants after halting his nascent nuclear programme.

Trump had initially sought to placate North Korea, saying that he was not pursuing the “Libya model” in getting the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

NUCLEAR SITE DECOMMISSIONED
Trump’s letter came just after North Korea announced it had completely dismantled its Punggyeri nuclear test facility “to ensure the transparency of discontinuance of nuclear test”.

Footage of the event broadcast by South Korean media showed explosions throwing huge clouds of dust and debris as they destroyed tunnel entrances as well as multiple wooden structures around the site.

Other images showed North Korean officials displaying a map of the site, including several major tunnel complexes they said were unused and completely operational prior to being collapsed.

What could be impact of cancellation of talks?
Analysts worried the cancelling of the talks could prompt a resumption in hostilities on the Korean peninsula, including renewed shorter-range missile tests or stepped-up cyber-attacks by Pyongyang and increased sanctions or deployment of new military assets by Washington.

Trump, in scrapping the June 12 summit in Singapore, sounded a bellicose note, warning Kim of the United States’ greater nuclear might, reminiscent of the president’s tweet last year asserting that he had a “much bigger” nuclear button than Kim.

Speaking later, Trump said the U.S. military stood ready if Kim were to take any “foolish” action, and that the United States would continue its “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who worked hard to help set up the summit and urged Trump at a White House meeting on Tuesday not to let a rare opportunity slip away, said he was “perplexed” by the cancellation. He urged Trump and Kim to talk directly.

(Adapted from The Indian Express)

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