Win Without War & CNN & Agence France-Presse & The Telegraph & Fox – 2018-05-24 23:29:41
ACTION ALERT: Trump Cancels Summit with Kim Jong-un. Tell Congress It’s Time to Step In
Win Without War
(May 24, 2018) — The sinkhole that is Donald Trump’s foreign policy got even bigger this morning when he abruptly cancelled his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The Trump-Kim summit could have been an historic turning point for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Instead, Trump and his war cabinet undermined diplomacy at every turn. Now, Trump could use this botched summit as an excuse to steer the United States toward a terrible war of choice with North Korea.
We can’t let that happen. If we can get Congress to speak up immediately, we can beat the media cycle and make it clear that Congress and the American people remain fully committed to diplomacy, not war, with North Korea. But we need to act now.
Trump and his war cabinet bungled this summit from the start. First, Trump rashly agreed to a high-level summit without any diplomatic preparation. Then, the Trump administration goaded North Korea at every turn. His right-hand adviser, John “Bomb ’em” Bolton, lobbed wildly incendiary threats against North Korea on TV. And the Trump administration blatantly ramped up provocative military exercises with South Korea just weeks before the summit.
Trump’s letter today cancelling the summit is outright childish. It’s also very, very dangerous. But today’s setback is not the end of the road for diplomacy.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has consistently led the way in demanding a different path — one that leads to peace on the Korean Peninsula. And as long as Congress commits to follow President Moon’s leadership, despite the inane threats of the Trump war machine, the path to peace remains possible and full of hope.
We can’t let Trump’s recklessness and Bolton’s hunger for war sabotage diplomacy. We need to stiffen Congress’ spine to voice loud and immediate support for the path for peace led by President Moon — not Trump’s erratic and reckless path to war.
ACTION:Demand Congress speak up and support President Moon’s path for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
To: The United States Congress
Please speak up immediately to demand genuine diplomatic engagement with North Korea and commit to support South Korean President Moon’s leadership for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Thank you for working for peace,
Ben, Kate, Sunjeev, and the Win Without War team
Trump Cancels Singapore Summit
In Letter to Kim Jong Un
Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Liptak and Elise Labott / CNN
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2018) — President Donald Trump will not meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, he announced in a letter to Kim released by the White House Thursday morning, scrapping plans for what would have been a historic diplomatic summit.
He said during an appearance from the Roosevelt Room the decision amounted to a “tremendous setback” and warned North Korea that the US military is ready to act should Pyongyang take any “foolish and reckless” action.
“Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world that has been greatly enhanced recently as we all know, is ready as necessary,” he said. But he left open the door to renewing the diplomatic thaw which had preceded the anticipated talks.
“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” he said.
In his letter, which the administration said was dispatched through established communication channels to North Korea, Trump wrote with chagrin the summit was off:
“I 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,” Trump wrote. “Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”
Trump and Kim were scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12, for what would have been the first face-to-face meeting between a US and North Korean leader.
Months of Diplomatic Advances
The decision ends months of diplomatic advances between the US and North Korea that Trump repeatedly heralded as the likely precursor to a historic peace deal and the denuclearization of North Korea. Now, the dÃ©tente between Washington and Pyongyang appears in jeopardy, with a return to the bellicose rhetoric that has defined the US-North Korea relationship for much of Trump’s presidency once again peering over the horizon.
In his letter, Trump signaled a return to the bitter nuclear back-and-forth that colored his early interactions with Kim before the diplomatic opening.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities,” Trump wrote in his letter to Kim, “but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
Still, Trump signaled direct talks with Kim could still be in the offing, writing that he “felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me” and that he looks forward to meeting Kim “some day.”
Even as the summit was canceled, North Korea was taking at least precursory steps to scale back its nuclear program. The regime appeared to destroy at least three nuclear tunnels, observation buildings, a metal foundry and living quarters at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site on Thursday, in a process observed by invited international journalists including CNN’s Will Ripley.
No weapons inspectors or nonproliferation experts were invited to witness the event, and it was unclear whether the explosions rendered the tunnels inoperable, or only caused limited damage.
How It Happened
Trump withdrew from the summit after a North Korean vice minister of foreign affairs slammed Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday as a “political dummy,” the latest harshly worded statement from Pyongyang.
Trump and his aides were infuriated by the statement and wanted to respond forcefully, multiple people familiar with the situation told CNN. The specific and personal targeting of Pence is what irked US officials, three people familiar with the matter said.
The verbal broadside against Pence was just the latest harshly worded statement from North Korea over the last 10 days. Early last week, North Korea canceled a planned meeting with South Korea and threatened to pull out of the Singapore summit because of ongoing US-South Korean military exercises.
Trump and his aides had insisted over the past week that planning for the summit was still ongoing amid the increased bluster from Pyongyang. A logistics team was dispatched to Singapore to finalize details with North Korea officials. And a commemorative coin was stamped by military aides labeling Kim the “Supreme Leader.”
Not Entirely a Surprise
Still, the collapse of the summit was not entirely a surprise, even if Thursday’s announcement was abrupt. North Korea has offered diplomatic openings to the United States several times over the past decades, only to return to bellicose threats.
Even after Trump accepted Kim’s invitation to meet in March, most administration officials put the likelihood of the summit actually happening at less than 50% — and administration officials grew increasingly skeptical over the last week.
US officials had also grown increasingly skeptical of Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization. On Wednesday, CNN reported the Trump administration was looking to have additional high-level talks for assurances from Kim for complete denuclearization before the summit went ahead.
Hours later, a North Korean official lashed out at Pence and said Pyongyang is ready for a nuclear showdown if dialogue with the United States fails.
Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said if the US continued on its current path, she would suggest to North Korea’s leadership that they reconsider the planned summit between Trump and Kim.
“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” Choe said in comments carried by North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency Thursday.
Choe was responding to comments by Pence made Monday during a Fox News interview that she deemed “unbridled and impudent.”
CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this report.
North Korea Threatens to Scrap Trump Summit
After Mike Pence’s ‘Ignorant and Stupid’ Remarks
Agence France-Presse & The Telegraph
(MAY 24, 2018) — North Korea hit out at US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, calling him “ignorant and stupid” as the reclusive state made a renewed threat to cancel an upcoming summit between the two countries.
Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement via the state-run KCNA news agency lambasting a recent media interview Pence gave to Fox News.
“I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president,” she said in the statement.
In his Monday interview with Fox, Mr. Pence warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that it would be a “great mistake” to try to play Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore.
He also said North Korea could end up like Libya, whose former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising years after giving up atomic weapons, “if Kim Jong-un doesnâ€™t make a deal”.
Choe responded to that interview with an angrily worded statement in which she slammed the “unbridled and impudent remarks” from Mr. Pence, adding Pyongyang would not be forced to the table by threats from Washingtonâ€™s leadership.
“We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” she said . . . .
Similar comments comparing North Korea to Libya from Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton caused the first threat by Pyongyang last week to cancel the Singapore meeting.
So What Exactly Did VP
Mike Pence Say on Fox News?
This is a rush transcript from “The Story.”
This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(May 21, 2018) — . . . . MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: There are some reports that the president is concerned that if it fails or it doesn’t go well, it could be very embarrassing to have gone this far down the road and that he’s seeking input as to whether or not he should maybe rethink this whole thing.
PENCE: Well, I don’t think President Trump is thinking about public relations. He’s thinking about peace. He’s thinking about how we achieve what has eluded successive American administrations. I mean, truthfully, the Clinton administration, even the Bush administration got played in the past.
We offered concessions to the North Korean regime in exchange for promises to end their nuclear weapons programs only to see them break those promises and abandon them. It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump.
[Note: This is historically incorrect. North Korea held to a denuclearization agreement it made with the Clinton Administration in 1994 and halted its nuclear program. When George W. Bush became president, he abandoned the US-North Korea agreement and the North resumed its nuclear weapons program, detonating its first nuclear bomb in 2006.]
MACCALLUM: So, clearly the president is still willing to walk away.
PENCE: Well, there’s no question, but look it’s — we hope for better. We really hope that Kim Jong-un will seize the opportunity to dismantle his nuclear weapons program and do so by peaceable means. You know, there were some talk about the Libya model last week. And you know, as the president made clear, you know, this will only end like the Libya Model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal.
MACCALLUM: Some people saw that as a threat.
PENCE: Well, I think it’s more of a fact. President Trump made it clear the United States of America under his leadership is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies.
We’ve made it clear that we are continuing to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea that all options are on the table to achieve that end. But that being said, we’ve seen great progress in recent months. Last month’s inter-Korean summit where you saw the leaders of north and south meet at the Blue House, have that discussion.
The reality is that we hope for a peaceable solution. The president remains open to a summit taking place and will continue to pursue that path even while we stand strong on the objective of denuclearization in the extreme pressure campaign that’s underway today.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, if it doesn’t happen, the military option is basically back on the table.
PENCE: Well, it never came off, Martha. The truth is that President Trump has made it clear that this administration will not tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten our people, that threaten the United States of America, that threaten our allies in the region.
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