President Trump cancelled his June 12 meeting with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un on Thursday, potentially threatening the pending trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. In a letter to the North Korean leader, the president accused Kim of “tremendous anger and open hostility” toward the U.S.
North Korea is not backing down on the rhetoric either. On Thursday, Vice Minister of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, Choe Son Hui, said that whether the U.S. "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," according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
According to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer, for the past few weeks the president has been making comments hinting that the potential the meeting wouldn’t happen.
“Trump appeared to open the door to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, backing away from his demand that Pyongyang abandon it completely,” Wiesemeyer said.
However, in a statement on Thursday morning, President Trump said the U.S. will continue with the ongoing maximum pressure campaign and “strong sanctions” against North Korea.
China is North Korea’s closest neighbor and largest trading partner. According to Wiesemeyer, a link between the ongoing trade talks with China and the North Korean summit is evident.
“U.S. officials know they need Beijing’s help for a successful outcome with North Korea. And if that occurs, that alone would lessen the pressure on trade issues with China,” he said.
Analysts fear today’s action could rock ongoing trade discussions with China. According to a story from the New York Times, the cancelled meeting will give Xi leverage during trade deal negotiations with the U.S. because of his ability to tighten or weaken enforcement of Trump’s economic sanctions.
“It is in Xi’s interest not only to delay but to have the summit pending for as long as possible,” James Mann, the author of “The China Fantasy” told the New York Times. “The prospect of a deal without a deal itself gives China leverage over the U.S., especially on trade.”
On Thursday, Trump said the meeting could still happen on June 12 or maybe at a later date.
“Nobody should be anxious," he said. "We have to get it right.”
Watch President’s Trump speak to the press in the video from Fox News below.
Lawmaker Sentiment is Mixed
Several members of Congress took to Twitter to openly expressed both support and angst regarding the decision.