News & Politics

Trump Blindsided South Korean Allies And His Own Staff With Summit Withdrawal: Report

The news report from North Korea that appears to have set Trump off was assessed as "low-level propaganda."

President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to cancel, via letter, the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came as a surprise to South Korean officials and members of his own administration, the Washington Post’s Anna Fifield reports.

According to a Twitter dispatch from Fifield, who works as Tokyo Post bureau chief, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called an emergency meeting after Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo read the president’s letter to Jong-un before the Senate Thursday. 

“We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means," spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

As Fifield notes, it’s midnight in Soeul.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep reports Trump’s decision also seems to have blindsided his own administration.

“The news seems also to have surprised much of the administration, too,” he wrote, noting that the statement Trump gave as his reason to cancel the summit (namely that Mike Pence is a “political dummy”) was assessed as “low-level propaganda.”

As CNN’s Jamie Tarabay pointed out, a number of foreign journalists were on the ground in North Korea when the president’s letter became public.

“Hoping they emerge safely,” Tarabay wrote on Twitter.

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.