Trump Warns North Korea Against “Foolish or Reckless” Acts

Nicholas Kim, May 24, 2018, 11:53 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea on Thursday against "foolish or reckless" acts after he canceled a planned summit with leader Kim Jong-un. Trump said it was a "tremendous setback" for North Korea and the world that the June 12 meeting in Singapore was canceled but added that it could still happen later if the conditions are right.

He called off the summit in a letter addressed to Kim, citing "tremendous anger and open hostility" in North Korea's latest threat to walk away from the meeting. It had called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy" and lambasted him for his "ignorant and stupid" remarks about North Korea.

"Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world, that has been greatly enhanced recently, as you all know, is ready if necessary," Trump said at a bill signing ceremony at the White House. "Likewise, I've spoken to South Korea and Japan, and they are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden, any other cost associated by the United States in operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us."

The United States is "more ready than we have ever been before," he said, and will never compromise its safety and security. At the Pentagon, an official told reporters the U.S. military stands ready to respond.

"We'll see what develops over the next few days," said Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff. "If any provocative actions occur from (North Korea), we will certainly, in concert with our allies and partners in the region, be ready for it."

Trump, meanwhile, promised a brighter future for North Korea "if and when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions." "I am waiting," he said. "In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been continuing."

Trump indicated that he knew why North Korea suddenly turned hostile toward a summit it proposed. "The dialogue was good until recently and I think I understand why that happened," he said, declining to elaborate. "I really believe we have a great opportunity. We'll see whether or not that opportunity is seized by North Korea. If it is, great for them and great for the world. If it isn't, it'll be just fine."

Trump added that he senses the North Koreans want to do "what's right." "I really believe Kim Jong-un wants to do what's right. So hopefully, things will work out," he said.

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