President Trump on May 24 announced in a letter that he is pulling out of the much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The meeting was slated to take place on June 12.
“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,” Trump said in a letter to Kim.
Trump also thanked Kim for releasing three American prisoners who were held in North Korea, calling it a “beautiful gesture.”
“This missed opportunity is truly a sad moment in history,” the letter ended.
But the day after, Trump tweeted that the two countries are having “productive talks” about reinstating the summit. What’s more, Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the demilitarized zone for the second time in a month on May 26. The two discussed the peace commitments they reached in their first summit and how they could make the possible summit between Kim and Trump a success.
The news comes after North Korea allegedly demolished its nuclear test site.
The summit would have been the first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
“It’s important because of the potential opening it has; there is potential diplomatic progress,” former Vice Adm. Robert B. Murrett, a professor of practice, public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University, told Fox News about the once-planned summit.
Murrett, who also serves as deputy director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at the college, specializes in national security, international relations, military and defense strategy.
“This is something we haven’t been able to do for many years,” he added.
Fox News asked Murrett to explain what the summit would have meant for this nation’s future, and he answered three questions about the now-canceled meeting Americans should know.
Why would this meeting have been significant?
Aside from the potential diplomatic benefits between the U.S. and North Korea, the summit could have benefited other countries.
“It not just about the United States,” he said, explaining that the meeting could have also been a win for “our partners in the east, such as South Korea and Japan, but also areas in the South Pacific region such as Australia.”
He added, “These talks have the ability to reduce security tensions in East Asia and present an opportunity for the U.S. to reinforce the strong links with South Korea, Japan and even China.”
What topics were Kim and Trump expected to discuss?
Denuclearization would have been at the fore, Murrett said.
North Korea’s “nuclear weapons and ability to deliver them at long distances should be central,” said Murrett, who added that recent talks between North and South Korea “would suggest that it would remain a core issue.”
But Murrett also expected discussion of the Hermit Kingdom’s role in the global economy.
Despite various sanctions placed on the country, North Korea’s economy grew by 3.9 percent in 2016. But Murrett said diplomatic talks represent the “prospect of North Korea rejoining the family of the Asians” if only from an economic standpoint, potentially opening the door for the country to trade with more than just China.
“It would be in the interest of the people of North Korea,” Murrett added.
Did Trump deserve credit for the summit before it was axed?
In short: Yes. In part.
While Trump did deserve credit for agreeing to meet with Kim, his decision to do so was likely sparked by “the window of opportunity that has existed because of ongoing pressure” on North Korea to better its relations with surrounding countries and beyond, Murrett said.
President Moon Jae-in also deserved a “fair amount of credit,” he said, citing the recent summit between the two Koreas and the display of unity at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as one of “several steps toward unification in some fashion or another.”
“Trump is one of many important players,” said Murrett, noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe were also key players.
Abe met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago last month, where the two “affirmed their strong determination to strengthen our shared resolve on North Korea, and increase the capability of the U.S.-Japan Alliance to confront all emerging threats to peace, stability, and an international order based on the rule of law,” the White House said at the time.
And President Xi and Kim secretly met in May in China, Chinese state television announced after the North Korean leader had already left the country.
“[The leaders] had an all-around and in-depth exchange of views on China-[North Korea] relations and major issues of common concern,” the Chinese news agency reported, while Kim was quoted saying that he hopes to “build mutual trust with the U.S. through dialogue.”
Fox News’ Katherine Lam, Elizabeth Zwirz, Kathleen Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.