White House: N. Koreans did not show up at summit prep meetings

The White House said Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump's scrapping of a planned summit with North Korea was due in part to the North Koreans' failure to show up for advance meetings.

Trump was scheduled to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore June 12, but he pulled out earlier in the day, citing "tremendous anger and open hostility" from the regime.

"There has been a trail of broken promises that gave the United States pause," a senior White House official told reporters on background.

In addition to protesting joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S., which Kim had said he would understand, North Korea broke a promise to meet with U.S. officials last week, he said.

"On Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo's second trip to Pyongyang, North Korea promised that the two sides would meet in Singapore last week, to jointly work on the logistical preparations for the summit," the official said.

A White House advance team "waited and waited and the North Koreans never showed up," he said. "The North Koreans didn't tell us anything. They simply stood us up."

Moreover, contrary to North Korea's pledge to allow international experts to verify the demolition of its nuclear test site, only a group of international journalists was allowed in to watch the explosions hours before Trump's letter, according to the official.

"That promise was broken ... we will not have forensic evidence that much was accomplished," he said. "It's possible that the tunnels are designed in a way that would still allow them to be used in the future."

Numerous attempts to communicate with the North went unanswered over the past week, according to the official, and the first communication it sent in the form of a statement late Wednesday was a challenge to "meet (North Korea) at a meeting room or encounter (the North) at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown."

The statement also attacked U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, calling him a "political dummy."

"A strange lack of judgment combined with broken promises over the past weeks and North Korea's suspension of direct communication with the United States suggests a profound lack of good faith," the official said. "The president was always clear that he was prepared to walk away from this meeting and he has kept his word."

He recalled that Trump indicated in his letter that he would be open to meeting Kim in the future.

"But the president's overarching goal isn't a meeting," he said. "It has always been the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And the president will never compromise the safety and the security of the United States or our allies."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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