WASHINGTON (CBS) — President Trump has cancelled the upcoming summit between the United States and the North Koreans in a new letter released on Thursday. Mr. Trump writes in the letter that he was “very much looking forward to being there with you. 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.”

He also told Kim in the letter, “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.”

Trump calls cancellation a “tremendous setback”

President Trump speaking from the White House called the summit’s cancellation a “tremendous setback” for the North Koreans and the world alike.

“Nobody should be anxious, we have to get it right,” Mr. Trump said of a possible new date for the summit.

His message to Kim: “I am waiting”, adding that current economic sanctions and the administration’s maximum pressure campaign will continue. “I hope that Kim Jong Un will ultimately do what is right, not only for himself, but perhaps most importantly what’s right for his people, who are suffering greatly and needlessly,” the president said.

Mr. Trump noted that he had spoken to his military chiefs, including Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis, and suggested that the U.S. stands “ready if necessary.”

The president said that he had also spoken to officials in South Korea and Japan, where they communicated that they are ready should “foolish or reckless acts” be taken by North Korea in response to the summit’s cancellation. He said that the countries are also “willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden and the costs associated by the U.S. in operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us.”

“We are more ready than we have ever been before,” he said.

Congressional reaction pours in

Reaction from Capitol Hill to the summit’s cancellation was swift. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that the U.S. must “continue to work with our allies toward a peaceful resolution, but that will require a much greater degree of seriousness from the Kim regime.”

House Foreign Relations Chairman Ed Royce, said that the Trump administration should “continue to look for opportunities while applying maximum diplomatic and financial pressure against Kim Jong Un.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, commended the president for “seeing through Kim Jong Un’s fraud.” He added, “As I have long said, our maximum-pressure campaign on North Korea must continue.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, meanwhile placed blame on the administration, writing “The cancellation of this summit reveals the lack of preparation on the part of President Trump in dealing with a totalitarian dictator like Kim Jong Un. We’ve seen similar lack of preparation by the president in dealing with the leaders of China and Russia.”

Pompeo on cancellation

During questioning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo told lawmakers that he was part of the discussions last night and this morning that led to the decision by Mr. Trump to cancel the summit.

Pompeo would not tell the committee whether the administration had informed South Korea that the summit would be cancelled before the letter was released, but he said that the U.S. and South Korea are in “lockstep.”

He said he hopes that the parties will be able to return to where they were “six, eight, twelve weeks ago,” and he expressed confidence that this would be laid out in “some detail” in the coming days.

WH official on summit cancellation

There were reports that the North’s reaction to Pence’s comments prompted the cancellation of the summit, but a White House official told CBS News’ Jacqueline Alemany that there was too much focus on that, and the more salient development was that the North Koreans had threatened nuclear war against the American people in their statement Wednesday night.

Pompeo testifies before Senate after North Korea meeting news

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is answering questions from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the administration’s foreign policy goals after testifying before the House Foreign Relations Committee one day before for over 3 hours. He started the hearing by reading the president’s letter to Kim Jong-Un. Later he told lawmakers that America was “ready” for the summit with North Korea.

This is a developing story. 

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