US President Donald Trump cancels Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its nuclear test site on Thursday, North Korean state media has reported, as part of steps that have 'reduced tension' on the Korean Peninsula.

US President Donald Trump cancels Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
Pic courtesy: Reuters (File image)

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Thursday called off his planned June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a letter released by the White House.

"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," he said. 

The summit appeared to have suffered a setback earlier this month (in May 2018) with North Korea raising doubts about the summit between Kim and Trump. It had objected to US' demand that it unilaterally give up its arsenal of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles.

However, last week, Trump had sought to placate North Korea, saying Kim's security would be guaranteed in any deal and his country would not suffer the fate of Libya. The reference to the case of Libya has angered North Korea.

Meanwhile, North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its nuclear test site on Thursday, its state media has reported, as part of steps that have 'reduced tension' on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri site, which consists of tunnels dug beneath Mount Mantap in the northeast of the country.

A small group of international media selected by North Korea witnessed the demolition, which Pyongyang says is proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing. The destruction of the site began at about 11 am with the blowing up and collapsing of a tunnel and an observation post, as per Reuters. North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA reported that there was no leak of radioactive materials or any adverse impact on the surrounding ecological environment.

The South Korean government welcomed the test site destruction by calling it "the first meaningful step to realise complete denuclearization which North Korea expressed through including the inter-Korean summit." South Korean media described how North Korean authorities called out to media to ask if they were ready to film the first blast. They then counted down. After some time, another tunnel and other facilities were destroyed, then a third tunnel and another observation post. About five hours after the operation began, two military barracks were demolished, South Korean media said.

The North Korean offer to scrap the test site has been seen as a major concession in months of easing decades of tension with South Korea and the US. North Korea had announced in April 2018 it would suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap the test site and instead pursue economic growth and peace.

(With Reuters inputs)

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