Trump scuttles yet another peace process: A time line of North Korean peace programme
US President Donald Trump's decision to cancel the summit with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday, May 24, marked an abrupt end to a peace process which was progressing at an unusually fast pace, given the belligerent mood which prevailed even six months ago. Trump wrote a personal letter to Kim saying North Korea's "open hostility" in the recent times made him take the decision and issued a veiled threat saying he prayed to God that the US would not have to use its massive nuclear power.
Here we take a look how the peace process started off and how tragically it ended less than three weeks before culminating into a historic first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president:
January 1: North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un softened his stand on South Korea and floated the idea of flagging off high-level talks for the first time in two years to discuss the possibility of his country's participation in the Winter Olympics.
February 9: Athletes of North and South Korea march under a flag showing a unified Korea at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong also attended the ceremony in South Korea and exchanged pleasantries with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The two Koreas also agreed to form a joint women's hockey team.
March 8: US President Donald Trump accepts an oral offer from Kim to hold talks via South Korean Security Adviser Chung Eui-Yong who was told the same by Kim during their meeting in Pyongyang on May 5. Though the date and venue of the meeting were yet to be finalised, the development was quite extraordinary given the fact that Trump and Kim were at each other's throats till that point of time, hurling abuses publicly.
March 25-28: Kim Jong-un makes a secret visit to China in a green armoured train. This is the first time the North Korean leader made a foreign trip since taking over power in December 2011 and his visit took place at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who experts said, was alert that the US did not run away with the credit of the Korean peace initiative. China's relation with North Korea, its closest ally in the region, had taken a nosedive over the latter's nuclear tests and this visit showed that the two allies were together again.
March 29: At a high-level meeting held between the officials of North and South Korea at the border truce village of Punmunjeom, the two sides decide that a summit between the top leaders of the two countries will be held at the same place on April 27. Early April: Mike Pompeo, the then chief of the USA's Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, visits North Korea secretly to meet Kim. April 11: South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-Yong visits the US again to meet his American counterpart John Bolton who took charge on April 9. The agenda of the meeting was North Korea.
April 19: Trump says he could walk out of the meeting with Kim if it did not go well. He said this during his meeting with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe who visited the US to have talks over North Korean peace process.
April 20: North Korea announces it will halt all its nuclear weapons testing and quit nuclear tests.
April 27: The historic Korean Summit takes place at Peace House in Punmunjeom. It was only the third summit between the top leaderships of the two countries and first time in South Korea. The two leaders came up with the Punmunjeom Declaration and vowed to end the Korean War and denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
April 30: South Korean President Moon says Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on Korean peace. He said this when an idea was floated on whether Moon himself deserved that prize.
May 2-3: China's foreign minister Wang Yi visits North Korea and meets his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho and Kim. It was the first high-level communication between North Korea and China after the historic Korean Summit and also the first time a Chinese foreign minister visited the hermit kingdom since 2007 which says a lot about the dip in the two allies' relationship. Yi and Yong-ho, however, met in Being during Kim's visit to China in March.
May 4: The White House announced that South Korean President Moon will meet his American counterpart in the US on May 22 for further talks over the Kim-Trump summit.
May 6: North Korea says its decision to have the peace talks with the US was not because of America's pressure.
May 8: Kim makes his second visit to China to meet Jinping, this time in a plane. He visited the coastal city of Dalian for this visit which came to public knowledge after some time.
May 9: Mike Pompeo visits North Korea again, this time as the US secretary of state to finalise the details of the Trump-Kim summit. During this visit, North Korea released three Americans who it held captive for over a year and they returned to the US with Pompeo and personally received by Trump.
May 9: Abe met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Moon in Tokyo to discuss North Korea although no consensus could be reached on how to achieve denuclearisation. May 10: Trump announces that his meeting with Kim will take place in Singapore on June 12. The White House, however, also added that it might cancel the talks if North Korea did something undesirable in the next one month.
May 12: North Korea announced that it will dismantle its nuclear site before international media representatives between May 23 and 25.
May 13: The US administration says it is ready to help North Korea's development if its nuclear weapons were neutralised. US NSA Bolton, known to be an ultra-hawkish, also suggests dismantling North's nukes and taking them to Tennessee, US.
May 16: Just hours before its scheduled official-level talks with South Korea, North Korea scraps them to protest the continuation of US-led drills with South Korea on the Korean Peninsula, saying it was violating the spirit of Punmunjeom Declaration.
May 22: South Korean President Moon meets Trump at the White House. The latter says the June 12 summit might not eventually work out.
May 23: North Korea says US Vice President Mike Pence's comparing the North Korean situation with Libya was "ignorant" and "stupid".
May 23: North Korea allows entry to South Korean journalists to enter the country to witness the dismantling of its nuclear site. Earlier, it refused to do the same in the light of the sudden deterioration of relations between the two Koreas.
May 24: North Korea dismantles its only nuclear testing side in the presence of foreign journalists.
May 24: Trump writes to Kim saying the US was pulling out of the summit and he cited North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility" displayed in the recent times as the reason.