Donald Trump has cancelled a planned summit with Kim Jong-un, claiming that it would be inappropriate to meet at this time due to the "tremendous anger and open hostility" of the North Korean leader's last statement.
In a letter to the Supreme Commander of North Korea, published on Twitter by the White House, the president wrote that the meeting, scheduled to take place in Singapore on June 12, would not take place.
It read: "We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. 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. 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."
The letter was released after North Korea cast further doubt on the planned historic meeting, warning that Pyongyang could make the US “taste an appalling tragedy”.
North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement on Thursday that the fate of the summit was "entirely" up to the US, adding that if the talks were cancelled, the two countries could engage in a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown"
"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision … of the US," she said. "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."
In the letter, Trump mourned the "wonderful dialogue" that had been building between him and Jong-un and told him that he looked forward to meeting him "someday".
The former reality TV star also took the opportunity to respond to the suggestion of a nuclear showdown - and to boast of the United States' nuclear weapons programme, writing: "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's letter comes after he claimed earlier this week that there was a “very substantial chance” the summit could be delayed and follows a week of heated debate in Washinton, with certain US officials - including US Vice President Mike Pence - threatening a fate similar to Libya if North Korea does not relinquish its nuclear weapons programme.