‘We waited and waited’: White House says North Korea ghosted the US before Trump-Kim summit was canceled

President Donald Trump with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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President Donald Trump with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

  • The scuttled summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was partly based on North Korea’s “trail of broken promises,” according to a White House official.
  • The White House official noted that North Korea had backed off from a planned meeting with US officials, without prior notice.
  • US officials reportedly said they “waited and waited and the North Koreans never showed up.”

President Donald Trump’s seemingly sudden reversal on a planned summit with North Korea took some world leaders by surprise, but the White House insists it’s North Korea’s fault.

“There has been a trail of broken promises that gave the United States pause,” a White House official told reporters, according to South Korean media outlet Yonhap News.

“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 added.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un planned to meet on June 12 in Singapore, in what would have been the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

Diplomatic relations with North Korea, its neighbors South Korea and China, and the US started to warm during and after the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but after months of good vibes and seemingly charitable gestures, the North fell back to its old ways,

It sounded off on the scheduled US-South Korean joint military exercises, and snapped at US national security adviser John Bolton over some worrisome remarks he made regarding the future of North Korea.

The White House official also confirmed reports that North Korean officials ghosted their US counterparts after failing to show up for a planned pre-summit meeting in Singapore. The US officials reportedly “waited and waited and the North Koreans never showed up.”

“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 reportedly said. “The North Koreans didn’t tell us anything. They simply stood us up.”

North Korea’s absence at the planned meeting reportedly raised alarms at the White House, which coincided with the timing of North Korea’s change in posture last week.

The White House official also criticized Pyongyang’s decision to prohibit experts from inspecting and verifying the purported destruction of a nuclear test site in North Korea, but allowed journalists to cover the incident instead.

“That promise was broken … we will not have forensic evidence that much was accomplished,” the official said.

In a letter to Kim on Thursday morning, Trump said it was “inappropriate, at this time” to hold the summit, but left the possibility open in the future.

“I was very much looking foward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement,” Trump wrote in the letter. “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”

“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,” the letter said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who arrived back in South Korea after meeting with Trump on Tuesday, said he was “embarrassed” “extremely regretful” by the development.